Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: This will be held as a virtual online meeting

Contact: James Kinsella, Governance Manager  Tel: 020 8937 2063; Email: james.kinsella@brent.gov.uk

Note: The press and public are welcome to attend this as an online virtual meeting. The link to view proceedings can be accessed via the Live Streaming section on the Democracy in Brent page of the Council's website or through the link on the above agenda front sheet. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcoming Statement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prior to formally opening the meeting, the Mayor took the opportunity to welcome everyone and invited Carolyn Downs, as Chief Executive, to run through the guidance issued in relation to conduct of the online meeting. Having noted the guidance, the Mayor then moved on to the formal agenda for the meeting.

2.

Mayor's Statement - Order of Business

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Before consideration of the formal agenda, the Mayor informed members of a change to the order of business. Given the recommendation in the budget report on the establishment of a Council Tax Setting Committee, he intended to move the order of items so that the Appointments to Committees and Other Bodies followed on from Agenda Item 6 (Budget & Council Tax 2021-2022).

 

It was therefore RESOLVED that:

 

(1)      The business to be considered at the meeting be re-arranged in the following order:

 

·           Agenda Item 7 – Appointment to Committees and Other Bodies

 

(2)      The remaining items of business to follow in the same order as listed in the agenda.

3.

Procedural Motion - Conduct of Business

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that as this meeting had been designated as the Council’s formal budget and Council Tax setting meeting he would be inviting Councillor Kabir (as the Majority Group Chief Whip) to move a procedural motion, in accordance with Standing Orders, relating to the conduct of the debate on the budget report.

 

RESOLVED that the following procedural motion be agreed:

 

(1)      That the Leader of the Council be permitted to speak for up to 15 minutes in presenting the report to the meeting and setting out the Cabinet’s proposals for the budget, after which, the following arrangements be agreed for the purpose of debating and voting upon the Budget and Council Tax:

 

(a)      The Leader of the Conservative Group (or their nominated representative) be permitted to speak for up to 15 minutes;

 

(b)      The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources of the Council be permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes;

 

(c)       The Chair of the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee be permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes;

 

(d)      A general debate follow, during which the usual rules for debate will apply as set out in Standing Orders (save as set out in this procedural motion);

 

(2)      At the end of the general debate, the Leader of the Council be permitted to speak for up to 5 minutes to submit his closing remarks;

 

(3)      Following the close of the debate, voting on each Group’s budget proposals shall be taken en bloc.

4.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Decision:

Apologies received from Councillors Aden and Conneely.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Aden and Conneely.

5.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 556 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the previous meeting of the Council held on Monday 23 November 2020.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the Council meeting held on Monday 23 November 2020 as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 23 November 2020 be approved as a correct record.

6.

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Councillor Hirani declared a personal (non pecuniary) interest in Agenda Item 6 (Budget and Council Tax 2021-22) as the recently appointed Chair of Trustees for Metroland Cultures.

Minutes:

It was noted that Councillor Hirani had a personal (non-pecuniary) interest in relation to Item 6 (Budget & Council Tax 2021-2022) as he had recently been appointed as Chair of the Metroland Cultures Trust.

7.

Mayor's Announcements (including any petitions received)

To receive any announcements from the Mayor.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the announcements from the Mayor in relation to:

·             High Court judgement regarding the Barnhill By-Election result

·             Queens New Year Honours List 2021

·             100th Birthday celebrations

·             Holocaust & Genocide Memorial Day Event

·             Death of former Councillor Lawrie Nerva

·             NHS Vaccination Centre & thanks to Council staff for their efforts in responding to the pandemic

·             Petitions

Minutes:

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

(i)            Barnhill By-Election Result

 

The Mayor began by informing members that the election petition issued on 4 February 2020, which had sought to challenge the result of the by-election held on 23 January 2020 in the Barnhill ward, had been dismissed by the High Court on 19 February 2021.

 

He explained that as a result of the High Court ruling, Mansoor Akram and Gaynor Lloyd had been confirmed as being duly elected and correctly returned as councillors of Barnhill ward.  Members were advised that in reaching their judgement the High Court had ordered the petitioners to pay the legal costs of the respondents, namely the Returning Officer and the duly elected candidates, in the total sum of £68,000.

 

Following a request to speak from Councillor Kansagra, the Mayor ruled that he would not be willing to accept any further comments on this matter as part of his announcements.

 

(ii)        Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2021

 

Moving on, the Mayor advised it was his pleasure to be able to announce that the following Brent residents and staff had received awards as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List:

 

·                Lisa Knight - MBE for services to nursing during the pandemic.

·                Martine Clark (former Executive Head Teacher of Byron Court Primary School_ - MBE for services to education.

·                Sasi Srinivasan (Early Years Manager at Brent Council) – MBE for services to education.

·                Sanjay Kara (Trustee at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir) - British Empire Award for his voluntary work at the temple.

·                Sandra St Louis-Kandapah - British Empire Award for services to diversity, inclusion and charity work.

 

Members congratulated all those who had been honoured for their awards.

 

(iii)      100th Birthday Celebrations

 

The Mayor then took the opportunity to pass on belated congratulations to two Brent residents who had recently celebrated their 100th birthdays - Keith Routley, who had served in World War Two and Norman Mitchell MBE, who was the founder of the West Indian Citizens Organisation.

 

With the permission of the Mayor, Councillor Kansagra also took the opportunity to congratulate a further resident Santokben Patel who had also recently celebrated their 100th birthday.

 

(iv)      Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day 2021

 

The Mayor advised he had been honoured to attend an online event commemorating the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day, the theme of which had been “Be the Light in the Darkness”.  He urged everyone when remembering the victims to consider how they could stand against hate and discrimination today and “be the light in the darkness”.   Thanks were extended to all those involved in organising the event.

 

(v)       Former Councillor Lawrie Nerva

 

The Mayor announced it was with much sadness he had to announce that former Councillor Lawrie Nerva had recently passed away.  Members were reminded that Lawrie had served as a councillor in Brent in the 1970’s and 80’s and had also helped to found the Brent Council for Community Relations.  He had also received a Merit Award from the Labour  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

6.1       Budget & Council Tax 2021-22

 

This report sets out the Council’s budget proposals for 2021/22 and 2022/23.  It also details the results of the consultation, scrutiny and equalities considerations in relation to the budget proposals.  The report also sets out the overall financial position facing the Council for the medium term and highlights the significant risks, issues and uncertainties.

 

Members are asked to note that the recommendations in the report were approved by Cabinet on 8 February 2021 for reference on to Council.

 

6.2       Conservative Group amendments to the Budget & Council Tax proposals 2021-22

 

To consider the proposed amendments submitted by the Conservative Group in relation to the Council’s budget proposals for 2021-22.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council RESOLVED to:

 

(1)      Agree an overall 4.99% increase in the Council’s element of Council Tax for 2020/21, with 3% as a precept for Adult Social Care and a 1.99% general increase.

 

(2)      Agree the General Fund revenue budget for 2021/22, as summarised in Appendix A of the report.

 

(3)      Agree the cost pressures and technical adjustments detailed in Appendix B of the report.

 

(4)     Agree the budget savings proposals detailed in Appendix C of the report.

 

(5)     Note the report from the Budget Scrutiny Panel in Appendix D of the report.

 

(6)     Agree the HRA budget for 2021/22, as set out in section seven of this report.

 

(7)     Agree the Dedicated Schools’ Grant as set out in section eight of this report.

 

(8)     Agree the Capital Programme as set out in Appendix E of the report.

 

(9)     Agree the Capital Strategy, the Investment Strategy, the Treasury Management Strategy and the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement as set out in Appendices G, H, I and J of the report.

 

(10)   Agree the schedule of reserves, as set out in Appendix K of the report.

 

(11)   Agree the schedule of fees and charges as set out in Appendix L of the report.

 

(12)   Note the results of the budget consultation as set out in section six and detailed in Appendix M of the report.

 

(13)   Note the advice of the Director of Legal, HR, Audit and Investigations as set out in Appendix N of the report.

 

(14)   Agree the Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22 as set out in Appendix O of the report (including the additional wording set out in paragraph 9.2 of the report) and the payments to which it refers.

 

Council Tax recommendations

 

These recommendations only include a provisional Council Tax level for the GLA as its final budget was not agreed when this report was despatched.  This means that the statutory calculation of the total amount of Council Tax under Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 cannot be carried out until the final GLA precept has been received.

 

(15)   In relation to the Council Tax for 2021/22 we resolve:

 

          That the following amounts be now calculated as the Council’s element by the Council for the year 2021/22 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended:

 

(a) £1,036,468,015     being the aggregate of the amount that the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act.

(b) £900,778,354        being the aggregate of the amounts that the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act.

(c) £135,689,697        being the amount by which the aggregate at (a) above exceeds the aggregate at (b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act, as its Council Tax requirement for the year.

(d) £1,378.26               being the amount at (c) above, divided by the amount for the tax base of 98,450, agreed by the General Purposes Committee on the 7  ...  view the full decision text for item 8.

Minutes:

The Council received a report from the Director of Finance setting out the Council’s budget proposals for 2021/22.  Included within the report were the results of the budget consultation, scrutiny and equalities processes along with a summary of the overall financial position, risks, issues and uncertainties facing the Council over the medium term.

 

In accordance with the procedural motion agreed at the start of the meeting, the Mayor invited Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council, to introduce the report.

 

Councillor M Butt began by outlining how he intended to structure his introduction across three interconnected themes - the impact of the pandemic, the prudent approach towards managing the budget and mitigating the challenges created as a result of the pandemic and lastly the plans being delivered to shape the borough as a place of empathy, opportunity and prosperity ensuring everyone had the opportunity to succeed.  Beginning with the impact of the pandemic he highlighted the personal cost and expressed his sadness for those who had lost family and loved ones over the last year.  The pandemic, he felt, had also served to highlight wider inequalities which successive Government’s had failed to address not only in terms of levels of poverty, deprivation and opportunity but also in relation to race and culture.  Whilst proud of the boroughs diversity, the pandemic had provided a reminder of the difference in life chances experienced specifically amongst the Black and also other Minority Ethnic communities.  As a result, he pointed out, the Council had developed the Black Community Action Plan, which had been designed to address the concerns highlighted through active interventions designed, built and delivered by the community.  It was intended these interventions would be enabled and embraced by the Council, with a public commitment to enshrining and investing in them over the long-term having recognised the need to focus on putting things right.

 

This was also the approach being developed in relation to tackling the climate emergency, with Councillor M Butt highlighting various initiatives such as insulating homes, incentivising green modes of transport and discouraging wasteful behaviour as a means of delivering tangible improvements and addressing the impact on the environment.  Turning then to poverty, Councillor M.Butt expressed frustration at the lack of progress being made nationally to tackle the issue and highlighted the Administration’s commitment to delivering the poverty reduction strategies recommended by Brent’s Poverty Commission.

 

Councillor M Butt felt these actions could only achieve their desired impact if they had a clear purpose, quantifiable goals and a means of delivery, accompanied by a willingness to adapt in the face of change. He praised residents for the determination shown prior to and throughout the pandemic, and called on them to harness the same energy, passion and determination to help the borough reach its potential.

 

Turning to the budget proposals, Councillor M Butt advised that he recognised the concerns expressed by residents in relation to the proposed increase in Council Tax of 4.99% which had been recommended within the budget report.  There  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies and Appointment of Chairs/Vice Chairs (if any) pdf icon PDF 265 KB

To agree any appointments to Committees or Outside Bodies (if any); and the appointments of Chairs/Vice Chairs (if any) in accordance with Standing Order 30(g).

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council RESOLVED to appoint the following as members of the Council Tax Setting Committee:

 

Labour Group:            Councillors M.Butt, McLennan, Krupa Sheth and Stephens to be appointed as full members

 

Councillor Nerva to be appointed as substitute member

 

Conservative Group:   Councillor Kansagra to be appointed as full member

 

Councillors Colwill and Maurice to be appointed as substitute members

Minutes:

In accordance with the change in the order of business agreed at the start of the meeting, the Mayor then referred members to the list of changes to be considered in relation to appointments on Council Committees, Sub Committees and other bodies.

 

As a result, it was RESOLVED to approve the appointment of the following members to the newly established Council Tax Setting Committee:

 

Labour Group:              Councillors M Butt, McLennan Krupa Sheth and Stephens to be appointed as full members

 

Councillor Nerva to be appointed as substitute member

 

Conservative Group:    Councillor Kansagra to be appointed as full member

 

                                           Councillors Colwill and Maurice to be appointed as substitute members

10.

Borough Plan 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 242 KB

This report presents the Borough Plan 2021-2022 to Council for formal adoption, setting out the Council’s vision, strategic priorities and actions for review.

 

Members are asked to note that the draft Borough Plan was approved by Cabinet on 8 February 2021 for referral to Council.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council RESOLVED:

 

(1)     To adopt the Borough Plan attached as Appendix 1 of the report and note the Equality Strategy Action Plan attached as Appendix 2 of the report.

 

(2)     To refer the Borough Plan to Cabinet for monitoring.

Minutes:

The Mayor then moved on to deal with the remaining items on the agenda and started by inviting Councillor McLennan, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, to introduce the report from the Assistant Chief Executive presenting a refresh of the Borough Plan.

 

In introducing the item, Councillor McLennan advised that the report outlined a refocussed set of strategic priorities and actions against the key objectives and vision originally agreed as part of the Borough Plan. These refocussed priorities reflected the work delivered on each of the priority areas and objectives over the previous year as well as setting out the priorities for the next year.  The refresh had also sought to draw on the experience of tackling the challenges over the last year and included actions to address key cross-cutting issues such as homelessness, reducing health inequalities, providing youth opportunities, the climate emergency and delivery of training and support.  She also advised that the refreshed plan reflected the draft Equality Strategy Action Plan 2021-22 which had been updated following consultation.

 

As no other members indicated they wished to speak, the Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were declared CARRIED.

 

Accordingly, Council RESOLVED:

 

(1)        To adopt the Borough Plan attached as Appendix 1 of the report and note the Equality Strategy Action Plan attached as Appendix 2 of the report.

 

(2)        To refer the Borough Plan to Cabinet for monitoring.

11.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Report 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 231 KB

This report provides an update on treasury management activities for the first half of the financial year 2020-21.

 

Members are asked to note that the report was noted by Cabinet on 7 December 2020 and has been referred on to Council for consideration in compliance with CIPFAs Code of Practice on Treasury Management.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council RESOLVED to note the 2020-21 Mid-Year Treasury report in compliance with CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management (the Code).

Minutes:

The Mayor then invited Councillor McLennan, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, to introduce the report from the Director of Finance updating members on Treasury Management activity for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year. Members noted that the report had also been considered and agreed by the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee on 8 December and Cabinet on 7 December 2020 who had agreed to refer it on to Council for consideration in compliance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management.

 

As part of her introduction, Councillor McLennan drew members’ attention to the policy announcement which had been included within the Chancellor’s recent Budget statement regarding changes to the Housing Revenue Account borrowing rates.  Members were advised this supported the overall approach outlined within the report in terms of the Council seeking to take advantage of lower cost borrowing solutions as part of its strategy in relation to Treasury and Debt management.

 

As no other members indicated they wished to speak, the Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were unanimously declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED to note the 2020-21 Mid-Year Treasury report in compliance with CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management (the Code).

12.

Members Allowance Scheme - Annual Review pdf icon PDF 312 KB

This report outlines the annual review of the Members Allowance Scheme and details the allowances Members will be entitled to receive for carrying out their responsibilities during 2021/2022.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council RESOLVED

 

(1)        To make a Members’ Allowance Scheme in the proposed terms set out in the report for the financial year 2021/212.

 

(2)        To authorise the Director of Legal, HR Audit & Investigations to comply with the statutory requirements to publicise the Council’s Members’ Allowance Scheme.

Minutes:

Moving on, the Mayor then invited Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council, to introduce the report from the Assistant Chief Executive which sought approval to the proposed Members Allowance Scheme for the 2021/22 financial year.

 

In introducing the report, Councillor M Butt advised that in view of the public sector pay freeze announced by the Government for 2021/22 it had been recommended that no annual uplift be applied to the level of basic, special responsibility or civic allowances contained within the Members Allowance Scheme for 2021/22.  As a result of the decisions made on the budget, he also reminded members that the Council had now agreed to provide staff with an additional one-off payment of £500 (pro-rata for part time staff) in recognition of their hard work throughout the pandemic.

 

Having noted that no changes were being recommended to the level of Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) during 2021/22 Councillor Kansagra, in responding to the report on behalf of the Conservative Group, was keen to ensure that a further review of SRAs was undertaken by the Constitution Working Group in advance of the next review and Borough elections in May 2022.

 

As no further members indicated they wished to speak, the Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were unanimously declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To make a Members’ Allowance Scheme in the proposed terms set out in the report for the financial year 2021/22.

 

(2)      To authorise the Director of Legal, HR Audit & Investigations to comply with the statutory requirements to publicise the Council’s Members’ Allowance Scheme.

13.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 312 KB

This report seeks approval to a number of proposed changes to the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council RESOLVED:

 

(1)     To approve the changes to the Constitution as set out within the report.

 

(2)     To authorise the Director of Legal and HR Services to amend the Constitution accordingly, including making any necessary incidental or consequential changes.

Minutes:

As the final item of business listed on the agenda, the Mayor then invited Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council to introduce the report from the Director of Legal, HR Audit and Investigations detailing minor changes to the Council’s Constitution. Councillor M.Butt in introducing the report advised the changes related to the requisitioning of Extraordinary Council meetings and provisions within the Code of Conduct.

 

As no other members indicated they wished to speak, the Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To approve the changes to the Constitution as set out within the report which related to the introduction of a protocol for the requisitioning of Extraordinary Council meetings and minor changes to the Members Code of Conduct.

 

(2)      To authorise the Director of Legal and HR Services to amend the Constitution accordingly, including making any necessary incidental or consequential changes.

14.

Urgent Business

At the discretion of the Mayor to consider any urgent business, in accordance with Standing Order 30(s).

Additional documents:

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Members there were no urgent items of business for consideration.

 

As this was his final Council business meeting as Mayor, Councillor Ezeajughi thanked members for their support and cooperation throughout his time as Mayor and particularly over what had been such a challenging and unprecedented last year for the borough.  He also paid tribute to the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Colacicco for her mayoral support and advised that the next meeting would be the Annual Council meeting.  He then closed the meeting and urged all members to take care and stay safe.