Minutes of the Meeting of Warwickshire County Council
held on 17 December 2013
Councillor Dave Shilton (Chair)
Councillors John Beaumont, Sarah Boad, Mike Brain, Peter Butlin, Les Caborn, Richard
Chattaway, Jonathan Chilvers, Jeff Clarke, Alan Cockburn, Jose Compton, Yousef
Dahmash, Corinne Davies, Nicola Davies, Neil Dirveiks, Richard Dodd, Sara Doughty,
Peter Fowler, Jenny Fradgley, Bill Gifford, Mike Gittus, Brian Hawkes, Colin Hayfield,
Martin Heatley, Bob Hicks, John Holland, John Horner, Julie Jackson, Philip Johnson,
Kam Kaur, Bernard Kirton, Keith Kondakor, Joan Lea, Keith Lloyd, Ann McLauchlan,
Phillip Morris-Jones, Peter Morson, Brian Moss, Bill Olner, Kate Rolfe, Maggie O’Rourke,
Dave Parsons, Mike Perry, Caroline Phillips, Wallace Redford, Clive Rickhards, Howard
Roberts, Jerry Roodhouse, Chris Saint, Izzi Seccombe, Jenny St. John, Bob Stevens,
June Tandy, Heather Timms, Angela Warner, Alan Webb, Mary Webb, Matt Western,
John Whitehouse and Chris Williams.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Brian Hawkes the new County Councillor for Bedworth
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors John
Appleton and Danny Kendall.
Members’ Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests
Item 5 – Additions to the Learning and Achievement Capital Programme
All councillors who were members of governing bodies of the schools
mentioned in the report declared a personal interest.
Councillor Julie Jackson declared an interest as a trustee of the Nicholas
Chamberlaine Schools Foundation and, as the Trust own school sites
mentioned in the report, left the meeting during discussion of this item.
Councillor Richard Chattaway and Councillor Bob Hicks declared interests
as their daughters worked at a school mentioned in the report.
Item 7(2) – Motion on the Probation Service
Councillor John Holland declared an interest in this item as a member of the
Probation Trust but explained that his membership would end in March. The
motion related to changes that were to take place after 1 April, therefore
Councillor Holland’s interest was non-pecuniary and he remained in the
meeting for this item.
Councillor Izzi seccombe moved that the minutes be approved as a correct
record and was seconded by Councillor Alan Cockburn.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2013 be approved
as a correct record.
Councillor Keith Richardson
The Chair referred to the recent death of Councillor Keith Richardson
whose funeral he had attended and at which many tributes were made to
Keith Richardson’s kindness and popularity and his commitment to the
Bedworth area. Councillor June Tandy expressed her sadness at the loss of
a colleague who worked hard for his community.
The Council stood in silent tribute to Keith Richardson.
Former Councillor Alan Smith
The Chair reported the death of former County Councillor Alan Smith. Alan
Smith had presented the Polesworth Division from 1989 to 2005 and had
been Chair of the Council for the 2004/5 municipal year. He had also served
on North Warwickshire Borough Council. Alan Smith had served on a
range of County Council committees, including Health, Social Care and
Welfare, Education and, in more recent years, the Learning Overview and
Scrutiny Committee and associated bodies. Outside of the Council, he
chaired Age Concern in Atherstone and the North Warwickshire Community
The Chair paid tribute to Alan Smith’s patience and commitment. Councillor
June Tandy expressed her sadness at the loss and paid tribute to Alan
Smith’s kindness and commitment.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of the Council, remembered Alan Smith
as courteous, with time for everyone and a passion for his area. He was
able to support his community whilst also undertaking a strategic role on the
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, paid
tribute to Alan Smith’s robust approach to issues which were coupled with
compassion. He noted that Alan Smith was always able to bring the voice of
his community to his work on the Council, particularly in his role on overview
Councillor Dave Parsons, Councillor for Polesworth, referred to his personal
loss of a friend and paid tribute to the support Alan Smith had given him and
the contribution he had made to the community. Councillor Peter Fowler,
Councillor for Coleshill, supported the comments and paid tribute to the
advice Alan Smith had given to him in later years.
The Council stood in silence to remember Alan Smith.
Patricia Fifield - Social Worker of the Year
The Chair welcomed Patricia Fifield, social worker for adults, older people
and physical disabilities, based in Rugby. The Chair reported that Patricia
had received two awards – Adult Social Worker of the Year and overall
Social Worker of the Year. In giving the awards the judges had paid a
number of tributes to Patricia including the following:
“Over 41 years as a social worker, Patricia has maintained high standards
of professionalism – consistently championing social work values. I was
impressed by her person-centred approach and her ability to challenge the
stereotypical attitudes that suppress the voices of older people. She has
maintained these high standards against a backdrop of reducing resources
and increasing levels of complex issues. She has shown great resilience
and is an outstanding role model for the profession. As one of her
colleagues said: ‘If ever I or my family need a social worker, I hope it can be
Councillor Jose Compton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care,
congratulated Patricia for her exceptional achievement in gaining these two
national awards and for the credit that this brought to her colleagues, the
wider social work teams and to the Council. Councillor Compton reminded
the meeting that the awards were based on colleague commendations and
are, therefore, from people who really understand the contribution that
Patricia has made.
The Chair congratulated Patricia on her outstanding achievement and also
thanked Dee Burdett (Team Leader) and Rupert Pullin (Operational
Manager) and the whole team for their work.
Patricia thanked the Council and paid tribute to her colleagues and
managers who had provided an environment in which she had felt she
The Council applauded Patricia Fifield and her colleagues.
The Independent Newspaper Peer Award
Councillor Colin Hayfield, Portfolio Holder for Customers, announced that
the team that had established the Community Managed Libraries project
had been recognised in the Independent Newspaper’s Peer Awards. These
awards are given based on the voting of other entrants. Warwickshire was
up against competitors such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, British Gas,
the Guardian and KPMG. Ayub Khan had received the award and had paid
tribute to all of the volunteers in communities who had played an important
part in the success of the project.
WOW Awards for Customer Service
Councillor Colin Hayfield, Portfolio Holder for Customers, announced that
Warwickshire had been highly commended in the Best Local Authority
Category, coming second to the London Borough of Haringey. The award
was in recognition of Warwickshire’s use of data to improve services and
demonstration that customer feedback does make a difference and is used
in making decisions about services.
Kenilworth Railway Station
The Chair announced that funding for the new Station in Kenilworth had
been approved and expressed his thanks to all councillors who had worked
hard over years to achieve this.
The Chair announced that the City Deal bid had been accepted by
Government. This would produce jobs and apprenticeships in the area,
including 8800 in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, and a new
motor test site at Fen End. The Chair welcomed this as part of the
Council’s economic development planning.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of the Council, gave a statement
regarding the preparation of the Council’s Budget for 2014/15 and
circulated the Conservative Group Draft Budget Proposals for 2014-18.
Councillor Seccombe advised that the implications of the Local
Government Finance Settlement would be circulated to members as soon
as possible after its announcement by Government. Other key information
that was still awaited included information from District and Borough
Councils regarding their tax base.
It was agreed that the draft budget proposals were circulated electronically
to all members.
Councillor June Tandy, Leader of the Labour Group and Councillor Jerry
Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, sought assurance that
the Conservative Group would not be issuing a press release in relation to
the proposals and if there was to be, all groups should be included.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe gave her assurance that no press release was
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse also emphasised the size of the challenge
facing the Council and the need for more detail on the proposals, with full
transparency on the figures, so that all are able to engage in the process
before the budget meeting in February. Councillor Keith Kondakor, Leader
of the Green Group, requested a spreadsheet of all proposals be circulated
Councillor Izzi Seccombe assured the meeting that the full proposals would
be circulated to all members.
2. Election of County Councillor for the Bedworth West Electoral Division
The Council formally noted the election of Brian Hawkes as County Councillor for
the Bedworth West Division.
Access to Payday Loan Company Websites via the Council’s Networks
Councillor Jeff Clarke, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Corporate Business and
Environment, reminded the Council that the question of banning access to Payday
Loan websites from Council networks had been raised by Councillor Johnathan
Chilvers at the Council meeting in July, and had been referred to the Corporate
Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration. Councillor Clarke
thanked the Committee for its consideration of this and the points the Committee
had raised which had led to the options in the report before Council.
Councillor Clarke proposed that the Council recommend to Cabinet that the network
display a warning page offering alternative financial advice before allowing citizens
to choose whether they still wish to access the requested site.
The proposal was seconded by Councillor June Tandy, Chair of the Corporate
Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Alan Webb welcomed the proposal and the leaflet that had already been
prepared but requested that more information is also made available on where the
credit unions are and how to contact them. Councillor Matt Western suggested that
the leaflet include an example of the scale of debt that could be built up through the
use of pay day loans.
Councillor Clive Rickhards also requested that credit unions be publicised to attract
savers, particularly as credit unions can now award interest to savers, rather than
just dividends. Councillor Keith Kondakor requested that more information be made
available to the public about the various hardship funds that were available to those
in need so that they do not feel the need to use these companies.
Councillor Jonathan Chilvers supported the option and also requested that the
council consider how it could make some form of capital investment in credit unions
as occurs in other authorities.
Councillor Jeff Clarke welcomed the proposal to publicise the credit unions and to
make the public aware of the various pots of funds available, including in district and
borough councils. The question of capital funding would need further investigation
by the portfolio holder.
The proposal was put to the vote and agreed unanimously as set out below
That Council recommend Cabinet agree that the Council’s IT network display a
warning page offering alternative financial advice before allowing citizens to choose
whether they still wish to access the requested site.
Public Speaking Scheme
Councillor Izzi Seccombe reminded the Council that the proposal to allow public
speaking had been put by Councillor June Tandy at the previous Council meeting
and that Council had asked the Leaders Liaison Group to suggest how this could be
taken forward. Councillor Seccombe proposed that Council adopt the scheme put
forward by the Leaders Liaison Group.
Councillor June Tandy seconded the proposal, subject to an amendment to include
a review of the operation of the scheme after six months. This amendment was
accepted by Councillor Izzi Seccombe.
Councillor Keith Kondakor requested that the eligibility to speak should not exclude
trade union or staff association representatives and also that notice should not be
needed for late items. Councillor Izzi Seccombe confirmed that she would not
amend the scheme at present but that it would be reviewed after six months.
The proposal was put to the vote and was agreed unanimously, as set out below.
(1) That the Council approves the arrangements for allowing members of the public
to speak on items at meetings and approves the amendments to the Council’s
standing orders as set out at the appendix to the report.
(2) That the operation of the scheme be reviewed in six months.
Councillor Julie Jackson left the meeting at this point and returned after discussion on
Additions to the Learning and Achievement Capital Programme
Councillor Heather Timms, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Children and Schools,
presented a report considered by Cabinet on 12 December 2013 and moved that
the recommendations from Cabinet be adopted. Councillor Alan Cockburn, Deputy
Leader, seconded the proposal.
The following issues were raised during the debate:
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, expressed his
deep concern at the lack of engagement with local members in relation to the
schemes in this report. Councillor Roodhouse cited the proposal for Paddox School
as an example where the head teacher was unaware that money was to be
awarded and found out through an article in the press. Councillor Roodhouse
referred to Appendix 3 of the report that sets out the process for capital project
approval through a Capital Access and Organisation Board and questioned why
there was no reference of engagement with local members.
Councillor Bob Hicks welcomed the inclusion of the additional educational needs
school at Manor Park but did express concern that member engagement appeared
to not be a cultural norm for Warwickshire County Council. He added that
engagement is critical, particularly given the number of new councillors, and that
decisions in February will set the direction for the Council for the next four years.
Councillor Maggie O’Rourke also stressed the importance of engagement with all
stakeholders and that health inequalities also needed to be addressed as there was
evidence that this supported educational attainment.
Councillors Bill Gifford and Kate Rolfe also cited examples of lack of engagement
with head teachers and members.
Impact of school expansion
Councillor Gifford expressed concern about site issues in relation to Milverton
Primary School and Councillor Rolfe expressed concern that the expansion of
Bishopston Primary School with regard to traffic and the impact of this and other
school expansions would have on the High School in Stratford. Councillor Jenny
Fradgley also expressed concern at how secondary or tertiary places will be
accommodated, supporting Councillor Jerry Roodhouse’s request for a strategic
look at education.
Councillor Keith Kondakor stated that he had not been consulted regarding the
expansion of Milby School and that he was against the expansion as it would
increase traffic problems that already existed at the school.
Councillor Richard Chattaway expressed concern that the funding provided by
Government for popular schools was not the total required and the Council had to
fund the balance and had an on-going impact on revenue, even where a school then
opts for academy status. Councillor Alan Cockburn replied that this was in the
nature of Government funding and had applied under previous Governments.
Approach to those children with additional needs
Councillor Clive Rickhards questioned whether the provision of the additional needs
academy indicated a change in approach to special needs given that the pupil
referral unit had been closed and the focus was to be put on behavioural
partnerships rather than grouping those with behaviour issues in one establishment.
Criteria for allocating funding
Councillor Dave Parsons expressed his concern that funding was allocated to
schools on the basis of their success which could mean other schools that were in
need did not get the funding that would help them improve. This view was supported
by Councillor Phillip Johnson and Councillor Sara Doughty.
Councillor Alan Webb expressed concern that the expansion of Cawston Grange
would increase traffic problems, would not help children in areas of need or assist
schools in the north of Rugby.
Councillor Peter Butlin advised the meeting that the criteria were statutory and
applied to schools that were succeeding to assist them in accommodating pupils
and address the need of a growing population.
Councillor June Tandy suggested that it was too late to stop the current consultation
but that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should look at the procedures and
process for agreeing the programme.
Councillor Alan Cockburn, in seconding and welcoming the proposals, agreed that
there is a need to ensure member engagement and to also look at the issue of
capacity, which was to be considered by the Corporate Board in February.
Councillor Heather Timms thanked those who welcomed the funding for schools
and made the following points:
• The funding is ring fenced for schools. A bid was first made in 2013 and
engagement was made with the schools and personnel at the time. The DfE
only told the council that it was successful on 10 of those bids on the last day
• This proposal is to consult and members are urged to be involved and
welcomed overview and scrutiny involvement.
• The Capital Access and Organisation Board is an officer board and has a set
criteria. This is based on the national criteria that has to be followed but
includes some Warwickshire criteria (such as listed buildings)
• The school improvement process should be subject of a briefing for all
• Funding will go forward for Milby School as it is allocated for that school by
EFA and cannot be changed.
• All information on the bids and the email from DfE will be forwarded to
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse as requested.
The proposals were put to the vote and were carried.
That Council agrees to:
Allocate to Learning and Achievement for use within the Capital
£13,320,086 of Targeted Basic Need Funding and £850,000 of
Project Support Funding as detailed in Table 2 of the report and
secured using the criteria outlined in Appendix 2 of the report; and
£395,000 of Demographic Growth Capital Funds as detailed in Table
3 and secured using the criteria outlined in Appendix 2 of the report.
Add to the Capital Programme:
£17,600,000 for the proposals detailed in Table 2 and Appendix 1 of
the report for schemes selected using the Targeted Basic Need
criteria explained in Appendix 2 of the report;
£395,000 for the proposal detailed in Table 3 and Appendix 1 of the
report for the scheme selected using the Demographic Growth
Capital Fund criteria explained in Appendix 2 of the report;
£9,305,000 for the proposals detailed in Table 4 and Appendix 1 of
the report for the scheme selected using the Warwickshire Basic
Need criteria explained in Appendix 2 of the report; and
£500,000 to support the DDA programme.
Decisions taken under the Urgency Procedure
Councillor Izzi Seccombe moved (and was seconded) that the report advising the
Council of two decisions taken under the urgency procedure since the last meeting
of the Council be noted.
That the report be noted.
The meeting adjourned at 11.50 am in order to receive a briefing from the Local
Government Boundary Commission regarding the forthcoming review of the
electoral boundaries within Warwickshire County Council. The Council reconvened
at 12:50 pm.
The Chair took item 8 (1) Questions Under Notice at this point, taking question (8)
first. The minutes follow the order on the agenda.
Notices of Motion
(1) Local Plan No. 4
Councillor Clive Rickhards proposed the following motion and was seconded by
Councillor Kate Rolfe:
‘That the Council asks Redditch Borough Council for clarification of their statement
in Local Plan No. 4 that the County boundary is ‘somewhat arbitrary’ and ‘should not
be a barrier to development’. Further that the Council conveys its dissatisfaction with
the lack of consultation with Mappleborough Green residents on the plan to build
over 250 houses right up to the County boundary.’
Councillor Clive Rickhards explained that he was concerned about pressure on the
County from the proposed development on such a large scale, including traffic on
the A435. Councillor Rickhards referred to the views given by Stratford District
Council, including that it is contrary to the core strategy, and that the comments of
residents of Mappleborough Green had not been taken into account. He added that
he understood that Stratford District Council were to make an oral representation.
During the debate Councillor Peter Butlin advised that the County Council had
already made representations regarding the impact, including that of traffic on the
A435. The consultation had finished and the Inspector will look at this and whether
proper consultation had taken place. Councillor Butlin stated he could also not
support a motion that used language that appeared contrary to supporting economic
growth. Councillor Chris Saint, as Leader of Stratford on Avon District Council,
explained that the District Council had expressed its opposition but that no decision
had yet been taken on whether to make an oral representation.
The motion was put to the vote and was LOST.
(2) Probation Service
Councillor Jenny Fradgley proposed the following motion and was seconded by
Councillor Kate Rolfe:
‘That the Council puts on record its concern regarding the imminent proposed
changes to the Probation Service. The Council supports the excellent Warwickshire
Probation Trust which has demonstrated ‘exceptional performance’ ratings across
all categories of assessment under the national Probation Trust rating system.
The intended privatisation of a section of the Probation Service is unlikely to deliver
the outcomes that are already being achieved and has the potential to reduce the
Council requests that the Leader writes to Warwickshire MPs and the Minister
concerned, and to the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, requesting
that they support this Council’s view that privatisation, as outlined, does not go
Councillor Jenny Fradgley introduced her motion by setting out the high
performance of Probation Trusts across the country with the current Warwickshire
Probation Service performing with three other at band four or ‘excellent’, the highest
level. The Trust had also won the prestigious quality standard gold award for
excellence in 2011.
Councillor Fradgley explained her concerns regarding the proposals to outsource
70% of the Probation Service’s work (covering low and medium risk offenders) with
those of high risk remaining with the public sector (noting that offenders released
after serving under 12 months sentences have never been part of the Probation
Trusts’ responsibilities although they would welcome extending services to them).
The service will be open to a range of rehabilitation providers through 21 contracts.
Councillor Fradgley highlighted the following issues:
• Current trusts with proven track records will not be allowed to bid for the
market (although companies with a dubious track record may).
• The range of rehabilitation companies with different policies and processes
and the multiplicity of organisations proposed will require complex methods of
• Any savings made will be negated by the admission costs and by the need to
ensure company profits. Staff will be undermined by depressed
• A key approach to savings will be payment by results, with little evidence of
this working elsewhere. Dealing with people with chaotic lifestyles is difficult,
possibly making payment by results unattractive to the private sector.
• Responsibility for supervising high risk offenders; initiating and carrying
through recall to prison; and for breach of proceedings will remain with the
public sector, again requiring complex communications across a number of
• Assessing risk is a dynamic process and rapid action is required when low to
medium risk escalates to high risk. This is better dealt with in one
• The County Council has a duty to ensure community safety is not
compromised. Serious offences may increase and some offenders may be
lost in the complex arrangements involved in the transformation.
• The offender rehabilitation bill has yet to be passed but the change is being
rushed through by April 2014.
• There are also difficult issues in relation to IT, staff transfers and pension
Councillor Les Caborn,Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, reported that
the proposals had been discussed by the Safer and Stronger Partnership Board and
a letter sent to the Minister outlining concerns which he could circulate to all
members and would be kept under review by the Board.
Councillor Alan Cockburn agreed that the Council should support the excellent work
of the Probation Service but added that he could not support the statements made
in the motion as the facts were not known. Councillor Cockburn proposed the
following amendment and was seconded by Councillor Howard Roberts:
“That the proposer and seconder write to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and
ask for a reply to be brought back to the Council justifying the changes to the
Councillor June Tandy, Leader of the Labour Group, expressed her support for the
Councillor John Holland expressed support for the motion, highlighting the
importance of the links with the Youth Justice Service and the fact that Warwickshire
has the lowest offending rates thanks to the quality of the staff and strong
partnership working. He added that splitting into categories of risk would not work,
partnership working would be broken up and the service would not be managed in
Warwickshire. The IT system will also not be in place to track offenders through the
Councillor Bernard Kirton, Leader of the Independent Group, agreed that more
details were needed before any decision in support or against the proposals.
Councillor Bob Hicks reported that his Community Safety Partnership in Nuneaton
and Bedworth had asked him to write to Chris Grayling MP along the lines of the
letter sent by Councillor Les Caborn. One of the key concerns was the diminution of
accountability. The Probation Service is a statutory partner in the safer community
partnerships but there is concern that it will be difficult to hold the new providers to
account. Councillor Bob Hicks was also concerned that there will be an impact on
the operation of the Probation hostels which were likely to be managed from
elsewhere (probably Birmingham) by someone unfamiliar with the area. Councillor
Bill Gifford expressed his support for the motion, commenting that he had heard no
evidence to counter the concerns expressed.
Councillor Kate Rolfe supported the comments made by Councillor Jenny Fradgley
and added that there may also be an impact on the ‘pay back’ schemes whereby
offenders undertake community activities. Councillor Rolfe expressed concern that
these valuable schemes may stop as the commercial companies may not find them
Councillor Alan Cockburn concluded that members should support his amendment
on the basis that there was not yet enough information on which to make a
The amendment (at B) was put to the vote and was LOST (The voting being 25 for,
The motion at A was put to the vote and was CARRIED (The voting being 30 for and
Member Question Time
8.1 Questions on Notice (Standing Order 7.2)
(1) Parking in Daventry Road, Dunchurch
Councillor Howard Roberts asked the following question of Councillor Peter Butlin,
Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning:
‘Prior to the recent Warwickshire County Council elections, increased parking
restrictions were applied to Daventry Road in Dunchurch. This was a very
contentious issue in the village and even to a wider audience. Will the Cabinet
Portfolio Holder commit to a review of the restrictions, including consulting nearby
residents for their views?’
Councillor Peter Butlin replied that he was aware of the situation but that there had
been severe problems and that since restrictions had been introduced the position
had improved immeasurably. He added that he had not received any complaints
from residents or the police and he therefore saw no reason to have a review.
(2) Highways works
Councillor Howard Roberts asked the following question of Councillor Peter Butlin,
Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning:
‘What percentage of work carried out for Warwickshire County Council by external
contractors is inspected by an officer of Warwickshire County Council and of the
inspected work, what proportion is considered unsuitable?’
Councillor Peter Butlin replied that there had been no reported defects within 12
months of completion of 99.9% of the work (the target being 98%). The percentage
of repairs meeting minimum quality stood at 96% (target 90%). He added that he
was pleased that the Council was exceeding performance targets.
(3) Procurement Policies
Councillor John Whitehouse asked the following question of Councillor Alan
Cockburn, Deputy Leader:
‘Could the Portfolio Holder confirm that the Council had reviewed its procurement
policies and processes following the passing into legislation of the Public Services
(Social Value) Act, and made any changes necessary to ensure compliance with the
Councillor Alan Cockburn replied that the Council has reviewed its policies and
processes. The Council’s pre-procurement documentation has always recognised
the importance of the social economic implications of procurement and has now
taken advantage of the Act to place increased emphasis, including requiring
commissioners and service managers to consider the social value they are
achieving through existing contractual arrangements and how they may change
going forward. There is also increased engagement with supply markets pre-
procurement and procurement documentation specifically requests information from
providers on the social value they might deliver into contracts and this now forms
part of the Council’s formal scoring framework for the assessment of tenders.
Councillor John Whitehouse asked whether the Council had ‘gone the extra mile’ in
terms of transparency by keeping a formal record to show that the Council had
undertaken the considerations required under the Act, as well as recording the
rationale for any subsequent decisions. Councillor Whitehouse also asked whether
advertisements and tender documents state that the requirements of the Act have
Councillor Alan Cockburn replied that it is part of the scoring framework but would
provide a more detailed written reply on the question of advertisements and tender
Councillor John Beaumont advised the Council that this issue will be put to Adult
Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny over the next few months when the
Committee will receive a report on how the contracting is taking this into account
and whether it needs reinforcing.
The meeting adjourned at 1.00 pm and reconvened at 2.15 pm.
(4) HS2 Environmental Statement
Councillor John Whitehouse asked the following question of Councillor Bob
Stevens, Portfolio Holder for HS2:
‘Does the Portfolio Holder agree with me that the Government’s timetable for
consultation in the HS2 Environmental Statement is totally inadequate and unfair,
given its potential impact on the lives of many Warwickshire residents, and
represents an insult to democracy? Will he ask the Leader to write to the Secretary
of State for Transport on behalf of this Council and the people of Warwickshire, to
demand that a longer period of consultation be allowed?’
Councillor Bob Stevens replied that a letter had been drafted and that a meeting had
been held with Robert Goodwill, Under Secretary of State for Transport, where the
16 other leaders or cabinet members of the district and borough councils along the
line had agreed that the consultation period for this 55,000 page document is too
short, especially as it is over the Christmas period. He added that the minister had
undertaken to look into this. Councillor Stevens also urged members whose
divisions are along the route to read the relevant sections and added that the
response from the County Council is being coordinated through a team of 12
specialist officers and it would be as comprehensive possible.
Councillor John Whitehouse commented that the documentation was not only long
but also complex, with data in many different places and that there is no
consultation roadshow that would have enabled people to ask questions and
understand the impact on a particular area.
Councillor Bob Stevens gave his assurance that a letter was being sent.
(5) Dual Carriageway – Morrisons/Princes Drive, Leamington Spa
Councillor Sarah Boad asked the following question of Councillor Peter Butlin,
Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning:
‘Can the Portfolio Holder update the Council regarding any outstanding issues
following the roadworks carried out in the Princes Drive area prior to the new
Morrisons store opening? In particular, can he talk about the missing 30m of dual
carriageway between the railway bridge and the roundabout, southbound?’
Councillor Peter Bultin gave a full reply on the progress of the scheme and how it
had come to light part way through the construction phase that the 30 metres was
not being constructed. Warwickshire County Council asked the developer to
construct the scheme whilst on site but the developer refused. It had come to light
that the traffic assessment and the drawings showing the improvement required had
not been included in the conditions on the planning permission despite them being
approved by Warwick District Council’s planning committee. The County Council is
working with the District Council and the developers to increase capacity on the
road through future development.
Councillor Sarah Boad asked whether it was being suggested that the work is done
at a later date once the rest of the site is developed.
Councillor Peter Butlin repeated that the Council is still working with Warwick District
Council and developers to increase capacity on the road through future
developments. He personally believed the blame was with the developers but that,
because it was not conditioned in the original planning application, recourse to any
form of enforcement is limited.
Councillor Bill Gifford asked whether lessons had been learned from this in terms of
cooperation with district and borough councils and in making sure plans are looked
at closely to ensure this will not happen again.
Councillor Peter Butlin replied that lessons had been learned and that it would not
(6) Milby Primary School, Weddington – Ofsted rating
Councillor Keith Kondakor asked the following question of Councillor Heather
Timms, Portfolio Holder for Children and Schools:
‘Milby Primary School in Weddington has always been very popular and was until
this year rated as Outstanding by Ofsted. It seems the inspection system has now
become more brutal and Milby School has been sharply downgraded to “In need of
Talking to people it seems the school has been downgraded far too harshly by
inspectors. The school is now one of many appealing against its inspection grade. I
know the county is very supportive of the school.
What steps will the county take to ensure the inspection system does not damage
good schools marked down for trivial things such as, one person told me, using the
wrong colour of highlighter pen?’
Councillor Heather Timms replied that there had been 23 inspections in
Warwickshire since September with the 24th the previous week and that 14 have
remained at their previous grade, five had gone up and three down. Milby is one of
two schools who are appealing the decision and are being supported through the
Councillor Keith Kondakor asked whether it would not be better to open a new
school where the new housing is being built rather than having schools that are too
Councillor Heather Timms replied that she was unsure how this would be funded
and added that the funding for Milby was agreed by Government for this specific
(7) Rail Service between Nuneaton and Coventry
Councillor Keith Kondakor asked the following question of Councillor Peter Butlin,
Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning:
‘It is apparent that the completion of the 1st Phase of the NUCKLE project to provide
enhanced rail services from Nuneaton to Coventry faces many more years of delay.
The current service is a single car diesel train that runs once an hour between
Nuneaton and Coventry with a single stop at Bedworth. The service is frequently
cancelled due to breakdowns, lack of drivers who are trained to operate this unusual
train or knock-on effects of other problems at Coventry Station.
NUCKLE Phase 1 should have provided two additional stations (Bermuda Park and
Ricoh Arena), at least two trains per hour and a dedicated bay platform for the
service at Coventry.
It now seems that the project has gone badly wrong and we will have to endure the
single car diesel train running just once per hour for many more years, probably 5
years. Millions will be spent on the two new stations but there will be no new
capacity on the train. We have 18,000 people commuting from Nuneaton &
Bedworth to Coventry each weekday.
What will the Portfolio Holder do to sort out this mess?’
Councillor Peter Butlin replied that the first package of KNUCKLE 1 (new stations at
Bermuda and Arena plus platform lengthening at Bedworth) will be completed by
May 2015. The second package (comprising a new bay platform at Coventry station
and increasing service frequency to two trains per hour) is planned for December
2017 in line with the earliest availability of rolling stock but this will be reassessed
when more detail is known about the Department of Transport’s proposed
electrification of the route and improved services.
Councillor Keith Kondakor asked whether consideration should be given to running
an express bus service from Nuneaton to Coventry given that the bus service can
take an hour and the one carriage train was too short.
Councillor Peter Butlin replied that two trains per hour was harder to achieve. There
is a shortage of rolling stock but it only 12 months behind the delivery of the
stations. In his view an extra bus is not required as it is about accessibility not
(8) Council Employees on Living Wage
Councillor Jonathan Chilvers asked the following question of Councillor Jeff Clarke,
Portfolio Holder for Corporate Business and Environment:
‘How many Warwickshire County Council employees, including those working in
schools, are paid at less than the national living wage of £7.65 per hour?’
Councillor Clarke replied that there are approximately 50 full time workers who earn
below the national living wage (mainly in manual jobs such as cleaners and
caretakers) and there are around 850 part time workers, although many of these will
have more than one job which will put their total income above the living wage. A
further 2000 part time staff in schools (such as classroom helpers and
administrators) are earning below the living wage.
Councillor Chilvers asked whether, in common with 82 councils who were either
paying or were committed to paying all staff at or above the national living wage,
the portfolio holder would commit to investigating how the national living wage may
be achieved in Warwickshire.
Councillor Jeff Clarke replied that the authority had quite recently undertaken equal
pay evaluation (‘Single Status’). If the national living wage was applied it would cost
around £1.35m a year and would cost an estimated £27m a year if it was applied
with current pay differentials being maintained. Councillor Clarke added that, whilst
there is a willingness to try to match the national living wage, there is a limitation
due to the financial pressure and the impact on jobs.
8.2 Questions Without Notice (Standing Orders 7.7 and 7.8)
(1) Traffic Lights on Birmingham Road, Stratford.
Councillor Kate Rolfe asked Councillor Butlin, Portolio Holder for Transport and
The new traffic lights have been in place two months and I would like to ask
whether Councillor Butlin will do something about the sequencing to enable the
traffic to flow along the Birmingham Road.’
Councillor Peter Butlin replied that the Council had had to respond to each individual
development as it came along as there was no core strategy. He added that he
would take on board the comments and look at the traffic figures to see if anything
can be done but considered that may be limited until a core strategy is in place.
(2) Unitary Status
Councillor Howard Roberts asked Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of the Council:
‘At the last full council meeting at Rugby Borough Council, the Leader of that council
said that he believed there was no appetite for investigating the idea of unitary
status for Warwickshire. He also stated that he did not believe there were any
savings to be made from Warwickshire adopting unitary status. Will the leader
undertake to enter dialogue with her colleague in Rugby to ensure that he is kept
fully aware of this council’s position on unitary status for Warwickshire?’
Councillor Izzi Seccombe replied that she would continue to endeavour to meet all
of Warwickshire’s District and Borough leaders about the proposed debate on
unitary status as there was a duty to look at this given that the issue had been
raised nearly every one of her roadshow events. The debate may be held on 25
February, unless that date is required for further discussion on the budget.
(3) Zero Hour Contracts
Councillor Matt Western asked the Leader:
‘Does the council have a policy on zero hour contracts and specifically does the
Council employ anyone directly or indirectly on zero hour contracts. If so, how does
it fit the procurement policy and do we specify to any future service provider who is
tendering with the council whether they will be taking staff on zero hour contracts?’
Councillor Izzi Seccombe replied that she was aware that some people are on zero
hour contracts but that she would ensure a full answer is sent to all members.
(4) Protocol for Cabinet Appointments
Councillor John Whitehouse referred to last meeting of the Council at which the
Leader undertook to review her approach to including members in her Cabinet who
were also leading members in other authorities and asked whether she had
undertaken a review and what had been her conclusion.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe replied that she had undertaken a review and found a
range of approaches, including Cabinets with members who were also leaders of
other authorities, and that she intended to continue with her approach.
(5) Councillor Jenny Fradgley asked Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for
Children and Schools:
‘There are a number of houses being built and occupied as we speak and children
arriving in town for schools, particularly for secondary places. What are your interim
plans for ensuring children can find school places in the town and district of
Councillor Heather Timms replied that she was aware of the pressure and work is
taking place with districts and boroughs to identify the numbers and plan for the
(6) School Crossing Patrols
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse asked Councillor Les Caborn:
‘Has a briefing note on school crossing patrols been sent out to all members as
promised at the last meeting?’
Councillor Les Caborn replied that Monica Fogarty, Strategic Director for
Communities, had issued a briefing by email on 27 September and that he would
ask for it to be re-issued.
(7) Unitary Status
Councillor June Tandy asked the Leader of the Council:
‘When did this Council declare its stance on unitary status (as implied in the
question from Councillor Roberts)
given that it has not been discussed by Council?’
Councillor Izzi Seccombe replied that no stance had been made and that a view on
this was for decision by the whole Council.
Any other items of urgent business
10. Exclusion of press and public for report containing Exempt Information
That members of the public be excluded from the meeting for the item below on
the grounds that their presence would involve the disclosure of exempt information
as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of Part 1 of the Local Government Act
11. People Group Client Information Systems Review
Councillor Jose Compton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, presented
a report which set out a proposal for the replacement of People Group Information
Systems. Councillor Jose Compton emphasised the need to update the systems
and moved that this be taken forward on the basis set out in the exempt report.
Councillor Alan Cockburn seconded the proposal.
During debate Councillor John Whitehouse emphasised the importance of ensuring
this complex project is well managed and monitored, with proper member oversight.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of the Council, agreed that this was a significant
project that required careful project and financial management and that there is a
role for Overview and Scrutiny in ensuring it keeps to timetable and in budget.
Councillor Jose Compton agreed that Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny
Committee be invited to include this in their work programme.
(1) That Council endorses the recommendation to progress with replacement of
People Group Information Systems.
(2) That Council approves the reallocation of financial resources to deliver the
replacement People Group ICT systems as outlined in section 4.0 of the
(3) That Council requests the Leader of the Council approves the delegation of
authority for determining the method of procurement and securing value for
money, followed by the subsequent award of contracts to the Strategic Director
of People Group and the Strategic Director of Resources.
The Council rose at 3.52 pm.
- Councillors John Beaumont, Sarah Boad, Mike Brain, Peter Butlin, Les Caborn, Richard Chattaway, Jonathan Chilvers, Jeff Clarke, Alan Cockburn, Jose Compton, Yousef Dahmash, Corinne Davies, Nicola Davies, Neil Dirveiks, Richard Dodd, Sara Doughty, Pe...