Agenda and minutes

Annual Council, Council
Thursday, 20th May, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Lloyd White, Head of Democratic Services 

Link: Watch a LIVE or archived broadcast of this meeting here

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Nicola Brightman, Judith Cooper, Vanessa Hurhangee, Michael Markham, Devi Radia, John Riley, Scott Seaman-Digby and Brian Stead. 

2.

Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest in any matter before the Council

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest. 

3.

Election of Mayor 2021/2022

To elect a Mayor of the London Borough of Hillingdon to hold office from 20 May 2021 until his or her successor becomes entitled to act as Mayor.

 

i)       The retiring Mayor, Councillor Barnes, to provide a summary of her year in office.

ii)      Nominations for Mayor invited by the retiring Mayor – election (if necessary).

iii)     Retiring Mayor declares the result.

Minutes:

The Mayor highlighted her extremely unusual Mayoral year where she had inherited an empty diary and had had to adapt.  During her time as Mayor, she had heard some outstanding and uplifting stories of what residents in the Borough had been doing and had had the opportunity to engage with them: children and adults had used their time to raise money for charity, volunteers had helped others to feel less isolated, patient care packs had been distributed and old laptops had been repaired and given to children who were being home schooled. 

 

There had been a number of business owners in the Borough who had had to reinvent themselves as a result of the pandemic and the Mayor had attended the reopening of some of these businesses.  She had also been impressed by the number of new businesses that had started up during the pandemic.  Meeting these individuals and listening to their stories had been motivational. 

 

Over the last year, the Mayor’s YouTube channel, upon which she had posted a weekly vlog, had gained 208 subscribers, 715 hours of watch time, 19,500 views and 145,000 impressions.  

 

The Mayor was grateful that she had managed to showcase the residents of Hillingdon.  She had completed 442 events during her mayoral year: 236 virtual and 206 face-to-face. 

 

Raising money during the pandemic had been challenging for most charities.  The Mayor thanked everyone who had donated to her chosen charity, Centre for ADHD and Autism Support, which amounted to just over £5,000.  The pandemic had meant that Council officers had been largely working from home which had meant that there had been an underspend of £50,000 on the expenses budget which would be donated to the Mayor’s charity taking the total to £55,000.

 

Nominations were invited for a Mayor to hold office for the 2021/22 municipal year.  Councillor Chamdal was nominated by Councillor R Mills and seconded by Councillor Simmonds.  There were no further nominations.

 

RESOLVED: That Councillor Roy Chamdal be elected as Mayor for the 2021/2022 municipal year.

 

The Council adjourned for robing of the new Mayor at 7.50pm and reconvened at 8.00pm.

4.

Acceptance of Office by the Mayor

i)        The newly elected Mayor to make andsign the declaration of acceptance of office.

ii)       The Head of Democratic Services to declare the election of the Mayor to be complete.

Minutes:

The newly elected Mayor signed the declaration of acceptance of office.

5.

Appointment of Deputy Mayor

To receive the Mayor’s appointment in writing of a Councillor of the Borough to be Deputy Mayor for the coming year.

Minutes:

The Mayor informed the Council that he had appointed Councillor Becky Haggar as Deputy Mayor.

 

RESOLVED: That the Deputy Mayor for 2021/2022 be noted.

6.

New Mayor's Announcements

To receive announcements from the new Mayor including the appointment of the Mayoress.

Minutes:

The new Mayor thanked Councillors R Mills and Simmonds for their kind words and thanked those present for electing him.  He advised that his Mayoress for the year would be Mrs Reeta Chamdal and that his escort would be Miss Evangeline Chamdal.  The Mayor stated that his nominated charities for the year would be Domestic Abuse Survivors and Navratri Garba.

 

The Mayor encouraged all residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19 when they were offered the vaccine. 

7.

Vote of Thanks to Outgoing Mayor

i)     Vote of thanks to the outgoing Mayor to be moved and seconded - vote.

ii)    Presentation of Past Mayors’, Past Mayoress’ and Past Mayor’s Escorts badges for 2019/20 and 2020/21.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Edwards moved a vote of thanks to the retired Mayor, Councillor Barnes, her Mayoresses, Miss Roma Bell and Miss Elouisa Bell, and her Escort, Mr Cameron Swaran Bell.  The Leader advised that, as the Council had come in under budget during the previous year, he would be recommending that Cabinet increase the funds raised by Councillor Barnes for her charities to £105k.

 

The vote of thanks was seconded by Councillor Curling.  Councillor Sir Ray Puddifoot spoke in support of the vote of thanks to the outgoing Mayor, Councillor Teji Barnes.

 

RESOLVED: That the vote of thanks to the Outgoing Mayor, Councillor Barnes, be agreed.

 

The outgoing Mayor (Councillor Barnes) presented a Past Mayor’s badge to Councillor Yarrow and a Past Mayoress’ badge to Mrs Mary O’Connor for the 2019/2020 municipal year.  The Mayor (Councillor Chamdal) presented a Past Mayor’s badge to Councillor Barnes, Past Mayoresses’ badges to Miss Roma Bell and Miss Elouisa Bell, and a Past Escort badge to Mr Cameron Bell for the 2020/2021 municipal year. 

8.

Report of the Head of Democratic Services pdf icon PDF 642 KB

Minutes:

i)    Appointment of Cabinet

 

It was noted that Councillor Edwards had made the following appointments for 2021/22:

 

Position/Portfolio

Councillor

Deputy Leader and Property and Infrastructure

Jonathan Bianco

Finance

Martin Goddard

Environment, Housing and Regeneration

Eddie Lavery

Corporate Services & Transformation

Douglas Mills

Families, Education and Wellbeing

Susan O’Brien

Health and Social Care

Jane Palmer

Public Safety and Transport

John Riley

 

ii)   Result of By-Election

 

Members noted the following results of the Charville by-election held on 6 May 2021 where Darran Davies of the Conservative Party had been elected a new Borough Councillor as follows:

 

Candidate

Votes

John Bowman (Green Party)

164

Alexander Cunliffe (Liberal Democrats)

107

Darran Davies (Conservative Party)

2098

Steve Garelick (Labour and Co-operative Party)

1799

Tiffany Ritter (Independent)

61

 

There had been no change to the overall political balance of the Council as a result of the by-election.

 

iii)     Review of Council Constitution (#1)

 

Councillor Edwards moved the motion, subject to the correction of a typo’ on page 5 of the report whereby SEND responsibilities should be shown as being transferred TO the Cabinet Member for Families, Education & Wellbeing FROM the Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care.  This was seconded by Councillor Bianco. 

 

Councillor Mathers moved the following amendment, which was seconded by Councillor Duncan:

 

a)     pages 16 and 17 of the Council agenda – ref’ paragraph 6. ‘Select Committees’, as follows:

 

i)       REMOVE the additional wording shown in red “on these committees”

ii)      RE-INSTATE the proposed deleted wording

iii)     REPLACE “Executive Scrutiny” with “relevant Select”

 

This section then to read as follows:

 

6. Select Committees

 

These committees support the work of the Cabinet and the Council as a whole. The committeesare able to inquire into matters of local concern. This could lead to reports and recommendations which advise the Cabinet and the Council as a whole on its polices, budget and service delivery. The Committees monitor the decisions of the Cabinet and the performance of the Council’s services. The Committees will have the opportunity to comment on forthcoming decisions to be made by the Cabinet and will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of policy.

 

Councillors can ’call-in’ a decision that has been made by the Cabinet but not yet implemented.

 

The relevant Select Committee will consider whether the decision is appropriate, and it may recommend that the Cabinet reconsider the decision. The External Services Select Committee can examine the work of non-Council agencies in the Borough and advise the Cabinet of any issues of concern.

 

b)     Page 35 of the Council agenda – ref’ paragraph 16. ‘Call-in process by a Select Committee (other than the External Services Select Committee)’, as follows:

 

i)       Para’ (a) REMOVE “unless that decision is called in” and ADD ”…unless a call-in of the decision is requested by any Member to the Head of Democratic Services. The Member shall give their reasons for requesting that the decision be called in at the time of making the request.”

ii)      DELETE Para’ (b) REPLACE with “The Head of Democratic Services shall arrange for a call-in of the decision for scrutiny if so supported by a majority of members of the relevant Select Committee.”

 

The section then to read as follows:

 

16. Call-in process by a Select Committee (other than the External Services Select Committee)

 

a)      When a decision is made by the Cabinet, a Cabinet Member, Cabinet Sub-Committee, or a Key Decision is made by an officer with delegated authority from the Cabinet, or under joint arrangements, the decision shall be published, including by electronic means, and shall be available at the Civic Centre normally within 2 working days of being made.

 

The notice of the decision will bear the date on which it is published and notified to all Members of the Council and will specify that the decision will come into force, and will then be implemented, on the expiry of 5 working days from 5pm, after the publication of the decision, unless a call-in of the decision is requested by any Member to the Head of Democratic Services. The Member shall give their reasons for requesting that the decision be called in at the time of making the request.

 

(b)     The Head of Democratic Services shall arrange for a call-in of the decision for scrutiny if so supported by a majority of members of the relevant Select Committee.”

 

Following debate (Councillors Curling and Edwards), the amendment was put to the vote and lost.  The original motion was put to the vote and it was

 

RESOLVED: That the proposed amendments to the Constitution, as detailed in the report, and subject to the typo’ correction, be approved.

 

iv)     Review of Council Constitution (#2) Planning Committees Terms of Reference and Scheme of Delegations to Officers

 

Councillor Edwards moved, and Councillor Bianco seconded, the motion as set out on the Order of Business, amended as follows:

 

a)        page 12 of the Council agenda, paragraph 22, INSERT the word ‘Councillor’ so that the final sentence reads:

 

Should a Councillor or a petition request additional reasons for refusal, not in accordance with officer recommendations, then this would be referred to committee for determination.”

 

b)       page 59 of the Council agenda, paragraph f) (second from the top of the page), INSERT after “other sites in the green belt where….” the words “the proposal is contrary to Green Belt policy.” And DELETE “floorspace is more than 200sq.m” so that the paragraph would read:

 

“Determination of minor applications in the green belt at Brunel University, Harefield hospital and Mount Vernon hospital of over 1000sq.m floorspace and determination of minor applications on other sites in the green belt where the proposal is contrary to green belt policy.”

 

c)        page 59 of the Council agenda, ADD new paragraph g) (after f), second from the top of the page), to read “g) Consultations on applications submittedto neighbouring planning authorities that could affect Hillingdon residents and cause loss of residential or environmental amenity.”

 

d)       Page 60 of the Council agenda, paragraph c) INSERT after Where a petition’ the words “or Councillor request” and ADD at the end of the sentence the words "or Councillor" so that it reads:

 

“Where a petition or Councillor request has been received requesting the refusal of a householder application and where the officer recommendation is to refuse consent and the reasons for refusal align with those requested by the petition. or Councillor.

 

Following debate (Councillor Duncan), the amended motion was put to the vote and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the updated Planning Committee arrangements and Terms of Reference detailed in the report and amended above be approved and the revised Scheme of Delegations to Officers for the Corporate Director of Planning, Environment, Education and Community Services relating to planning matters, as set out in Appendix 2 to the report, be approved.

 

NB: The proposed amendments would require consequential amendments to the proposed changes to the Officer Scheme of Delegations as shown in the Council agenda.

 

v)      Scheme of Members’ Allowances 2021/2022

 

Councillor Edwards moved, and Councillor Bianco seconded, the motion as set out in the Order of Business. 

 

RESOLVED: That the current Members’ Allowances Scheme be amended as detailed below:

 

i)          ‘Chairman of Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee’ be amended to read ‘Chairman of Select Committee’

 

ii)        ‘2nd Party Lead on Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee’ be amended to read ‘2nd Party Lead on Select Committee’

 

vi)     Programme of Meetings 2021/22

 

It was noted that the Minor Applications Planning Committee scheduled for 10 May and the Petition Hearing with the Cabinet Member for Public Safety and Transport scheduled for 11 May 2022 would both be moved to a date after the AGM in May 2022. 

 

The amended motion was moved by Councillor Edwards, seconded by Councillor Bianco, and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the revised timetable of meetings for 2021/22, as set out in Minute Annex A, be approved and the Head of Democratic Services, in consultation with the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, be authorised to make any amendments that may be required throughout the course of the year.

 

vii)     Review of Council Appointments to Outside Bodies

 

Councillor Edwards moved, and Councillor Bianco seconded, the motion as set out on the Order of Business and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That:

a)    using the criteria outlined in the report, the Head of Democratic Services be authorised to undertake a review of outside bodies to which the Council makes appointments.

b)   following consultation, a report be submitted first to the Whips Committee and then to the Annual Council meeting in May 2022 regarding future appointments.

9.

Committee Allocations and Membership 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To determine the number and size of Council committees and allocate Members to serve on those committees based on the political balance on the Council, where required.

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Flynn, seconded by Councillor Choubedar, and:

 

ReSOLVED: That the appointment of Committees, Sub-Committees and their memberships, as set out in Minute Annex B, be approved.

10.

Policy Overview and Scrutiny Committees' Annual Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive the annual report

Minutes:

The Council received a report of the work covered by the Policy Overview and Scrutiny Committees in 2020/21.  It was moved by Councillor Corthorne, seconded by Councillor Bridges, and:

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

11.

Statement By The Leader of the Council

In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, to receive, without comment, a statement by the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council advised that his review of the previous year needed to include reference to the pandemic, how it had impacted on residents and how the Council had responded to support them.  Many had experienced hurt and suffering.  

 

757 residents had lost their lives within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.  At its height, the infection rate in Hillingdon had been 952 residents per 100,000.  This had reduced to 35.8 during the previous week and 30.6 on 20 May 2021.  However, Hillingdon still had one of the highest infection rates in London.  The residents of Hillingdon would not be safe until everyone was safe and the threat of new variants had been ended. 

 

Hillingdon had been included in the growing list of local authorities where variants of concern had been identified and enhanced control measures had been implemented.  By the start of the week, there had been two confirmed cases of the South African variant in Hayes and South Ruislip which had both been deemed to be community transmission.  Robust track and trace measures had helped to stop further community transmission and surge testing had not yet found any further cases of the variant.

 

35 confirmed cases of Covid-19 had been identified at Queensmead School; 13 of these pupils had been Hillingdon residents.  3 of the 35 cases had been confirmed as the Indian variant; 1 of these 3 had been a Hillingdon resident.  Surge testing had been extended to Queensmead School and other schools in the area. 

 

In the previous week, cases of the Indian variant had increased significantly.  North West London boroughs had identified approximately half of the total number of cases for the whole of London.  Unlike other areas, there had been no evidence of further community transmission in Hillingdon and the Borough’s infection rate had been on a downward trajectory from a small spike at the beginning of May 2021.

 

It was important to note that Hillingdon’s infection rate included all those Covid cases detected in quarantine hotels.  As Hillingdon had half of all the quarantine hotels in the country, this had been causing a significant skewing of the data with regard to the Indian variant.  The results of genome testing were not known for about two weeks, so the Council could not be sure that there was not an emerging problem.  As such, plans were in place to step up community testing and the vaccination programme in hotspot areas if required and the communications team had been preparing community messages. 

 

Getting ahead of the Covid threat continued to be the Council’s greatest priority.  Hillingdon had been an early adopter of the devolved contact track and trace and the testing regime was the most comprehensive in London.  Hillingdon had been able to quickly move from lateral flow testing to PCR testing in hotspot areas if needed. 

 

NHS colleagues deserved thanks for their achievements with regard to the vaccination programme.  The availability of vaccines had meant that London had been lagging behind other areas in the country.  Council officers and NHS colleagues had been working together to present information to communities so that they were then able to make informed choices about whether or not to be vaccinated.  As a result, hesitancy had been slowly declining and Hillingdon had the highest vaccination uptake rate in West London across almost all age groups and cohorts. 

 

It was probable that there would be an acceleration in the vaccination programme in Hillingdon in the coming days.  This could include community outreach pop up sites and multi-generational household delivery if needed. 

 

The Council’s support for business funded by Government grants continued at pace.  To date, £75m had been awarded to 4,000 individual businesses in the Borough.  It was anticipated that all of the Business Support Grant would have been paid out by the closing date which would likely result in further funding being made available.  To help reopen the Borough’s high streets and town centres, the Council had paid over £10m in restart grants to businesses.   The licence fee for pavement tables and chairs had been temporarily waived, a light touch had been taken on regulation and planning decisions for businesses adapting outdoor spaces for the resumption of trade and Covid marshals had been put in place. 

 

The media had been talking about a return to normal but this would be a new, and currently unknown, normal.  The pandemic had shown the vulnerability of people to the forces of nature so it would be no surprise if people showed more concern about their impact on the environment.  Climate change and the environment would be important and would need to be woven into everything that the Council did without becoming lost. 

 

The Council had made a good start with its Climate Change Pledge and the development of an overarching strategy.  However, more detail needed to be filled and investment plans needed to be developed to deliver a greener future.  The energy efficiency of the Council’s housing stock would be addressed which would likely result in the stepping up of Hillingdon’s Council housing regeneration.  Tree lined avenues and roads would be re-established and more trees would be planted in the Borough’s parks and open spaces.

 

The switch from fossil fuel to electric driven vehicles would be encouraged and supported with the availability of a good vehicle charging infrastructure.  Consideration would need to be given to the future charging needs of electric vehicles and associated policies as the required investment would be high.  However, the Council would do more now to improve the charging points in its car parks.

 

There had been an increase in the number of residents using outdoor spaces for jogging and cycling which needed to be sustained and expanded.  £6.5m had been invested in resurfacing 12.1 miles of roads and 15.6 miles of pavements.  Further investment would be made into pavements and walking routes.  Consideration would be given to better use of the green corridors to provide safe routes for cyclist rather than dedicated cycle routes. 

 

Covid had highlighted health inequality and the associated consequences to the wider community.  New methods would be needed to support and encourage residents to lead more healthy and active lives.  There had also been a rapid change to online channels for retail, business and social purposes and the Council would need to ensure universal access to this digital world through libraries. 

 

Working from home had been a surprising success during the pandemic and was unlikely to be fully reversed.  This meant that more resident time would be spent locally with consequent growth in demand for local services and businesses which could halt or reverse the negative impact on the high streets.  The Council’s planning approach should be to facilitate rather than regulate this evolution. 

 

The pandemic had impacted on the education, skills and employment of Hillingdon’s young people.  This would need to be addressed. 

 

The additional cost of the pandemic had been contained within existing budgets and Government grants.  It was anticipated that there would be an underspend of £4.9m and a closing general reserves of £32.8m which were both ahead of forecast.  The Council had not had to call upon the £9.1m of earmarked reserves for Covid and was cautiously optimistic that this funding would not be needed for this purpose in the future. 

 

Unspent Government grants of £6m would be carried forward into 2021/2022, further strengthening the Council’s financial position.  The bill for Covid had not yet been presented to the country and it was anticipated that local authorities would have to make a contribution through future funding constraints.  To this end, it would be important to step up the Council’s drive for efficiencies and reconsider the future shape of the authority.  It was thought that the Council would need less office space, fewer staff to process and administer workflows and more investment in the automation of processes and robotics. 

 

Although this period would be seen in the future as a period of loss, hurt and hardship, it might also be seen as a turning point that would lead to a better outcome for the Borough and its residents.  The way that neighbours had supported each other and individuals had stepped forward to help charities, hospitals, etc, had been encouraging.  Services and institutions had innovated, adapted and worked more closely together and residents would be able to see service improvements as a consequence. 

 

Council staff had been committed and flexible and implemented new ideas overnight, showing that they put residents first.  The Chief Executive and Corporate Directors had excelled in their leadership and all Members had come together to strengthen the Borough in its fight against Covid.  The last year had been challenging but had also been a year of resilience, determination and achievement. 

MINUTE ANNEX A: PROGRAMME OF MEETINGS 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

MINUTE ANNEX B: COMMITTEE ALLOCATIONS AND MEMBERSHIP 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 75 KB