Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 14th December, 2016 5.45 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Christopher Haynes, Pat Patten and Arun Photey.

 

2.

Declarations of interest

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made.

3.

Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 121 KB

[To receive the minutes of the meeting of 9 November 2016]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor proposed, Councillor John Reynolds seconded, and it was resolved:

 

          That the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 9 November 2016, be agreed as a correct record and signed accordingly by the Mayor.  

4.

Communications

[To receive the Mayor’s announcements]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolution of Thanks

The Mayor presented a gift of appreciation to Councillor Ian Brookfield as a lasting and enjoyable reminder of his year as Mayor in 2015-2016.

 

The Late Former Mayor and Councillor Margaret Benton

The Mayor announced that it was with great sadness that we had learned of the death of, former Mayor and Councillor, Margaret Benton on the 6 December 2016.The Mayor extended the council’s condolences to Margaret Benton’s family.

 

The council stood in silent tribute to Margaret Benton.

 

Holocaust Memorial Day

 

The mayor invited councillors to a service of remembrance, led by Interfaith Wolverhampton, which was taking place on Holocaust Memorial Day, Friday 27 January 2017, at 11:00 am at the Cenotaph. 

 

The Mayor wished everyone present at the meeting and across the city a happy, healthy and enjoyable Christmas. 

 

5.

Capital budget quarter two monitoring 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

[To consider an update on the 2016/17 financial performance of the General Fund and HRA capital programmes and the revised forecast for 2016/17 as at quarter two of 2016/17]

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.     That borrowing of £30.0 million be undertaken and a capital grant be paid of the equivalent amount to the West Midlands Combined Authority – Land Remediation Fund be approved.  This borrowing was required until the powers of the West Midlands Combined Authority (CA) were revised to enable them to borrow for non-transport related purposes.  The CA would in return pay a revenue grant to the Council to cover the borrowing costs of interest and minimum revenue provision.

 

2.     That the additional General Fund resources of £3.4 million be approved for;

i.     nine new projects totalling £1.9 million.

ii.    i54 Western Extension, a new project, of £1.5 million.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Johnson provided Council with an update on the 2016/17 financial performance of the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account capital programmes and the revised forecast for 2016/17 as at quarter two of 2016/17. Revisions were recommended to the current approved General Fund capital programme covering the period 2016/17 to 2020/21.

 

Councillor Andrew Johnson proposed and Councillor Peter Bilson seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor Wendy Thompson welcomed the extension to the western side of i54, she noted that the borrowing to the West Midlands Combined Authority would not be at a detriment to the Council.

 

Resolved:

 

  1. That borrowing of £30.0 million be undertaken and a capital grant be paid of the equivalent amount to the West Midlands Combined Authority – Land Remediation Fund be approved.  This borrowing was required until the powers of the West Midlands Combined Authority (CA) were revised to enable them to borrow for non-transport related purposes.  The CA would in return pay a revenue grant to the Council to cover the borrowing costs of interest and minimum revenue provision.

 

  1. That the additional General Fund resources of £3.4 million be approved for;

i.     nine new projects totalling £1.9 million.

ii.    i54 Western Extension, a new project, of £1.5 million.

 

6.

Treasury Management Activity Monitoring - Mid Year Review 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

[To consider an update on the treasury management activity for the second quarter of 2016/17 as part of the mid-year review]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.     That a mid-year review of the Treasury Management Strategy Statement had been undertaken and the Council had operated within the limits and requirements approved in March 2016 be noted.

 

2.     That savings of £533,000 for the General Fund and £2.3 million for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) were forecast from treasury management activities in 2016/17 be noted.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Johnson presented a monitoring and progress report on treasury management activity for the second quarter of 2016/17 as part of the mid-year review, in line with the Prudential Indicators approved by Council in March 2016.

 

Councillor Andrew Wynn noted that the Treasury Management Report was well presented, however was concerned in relation to the micro economic factors which had enabled the council to forecast savings and that the council needed to proceed on the side of caution on financial engineering. He further added that the general reserve be built and replenished.

 

Councillor Andrew Johnson agreed  with the comments made and clarified the council was moving to replenish the general reserve and that the Treasury Management Team kept a close eye on the market and external advisors also provide assurance that the council was acting decisively  in the macro environment.

 

Councillor Andrew Johnson proposed and Councillor Peter Bilson seconded the recommendations.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That a mid-year review of the Treasury Management Strategy Statement had been undertaken and the Council had operated within the limits and requirements approved in March 2016 be noted.

 

2.     That savings of £533,000 for the General Fund and £2.3 million for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) were forecast from treasury management activities in 2016/17 be noted.

 

7.

Appointment of External Auditors pdf icon PDF 80 KB

[To consider the recommendation from Cabinet (Resources) Panel on the appointment of external auditors]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.     That the recommendation of the Cabinet (Resources) Panel be approved to opt-in to a sector led body either jointly with the seven West Midlands Combined Authority councils or if a joint agreement cannot be reached then a sole appointment of external auditors for 2018/19 onwards for a maximum of five years and that authority was delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to award the contract when the appointment process was completed.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Johnson advised that following the closure of the Audit Commission the Council would be responsible for appointing its own external auditors by 31 December 2017 for 2018/19 onwards. A number of options had been considered by the Cabinet (Resources) Panel to put in place new arrangements in time to make an appointment of new external auditors by the statutory deadline of 31 December 2017. Cabinet Resource Panel recommended Option 3 to opt-in to a sector led body for a Council appointment.

 

Councillor Andrew Johnson proposed and Councillor Christine Mills seconded the recommendations.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That the recommendation of the Cabinet (Resources) Panel be approved to opt-in to a sector led body either jointly with the seven West Midlands Combined Authority councils or if a joint agreement cannot be reached then a sole appointment of external auditors for 2018/19 onwards for a maximum of five years and that authority was delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to award the contract when the appointment process was completed.

 

 

8.

Making of Employment of Children Byelaws pdf icon PDF 60 KB

[To authorise the making of the byelaw relating to the employment of children]

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.     That the making of the byelaw be authorised as detailed at Appendix 1 of the report, relating to the employment of children and to affix the common seal of the Council.

 

2.     That the Director of Governance be authorised to publish in one or more local newspapers a notice of the Council’s intention to apply for confirmation of the byelaw.

 

3.     That the Director of Governance be authorised to submit the byelaw for confirmation.

 

4.     That the revocation of the existing byelaw relating to the employment of children that was made on 16 December 1998 be approved.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Ian Brookfield recommend to the Council the making of byelaws that replace those that were made on 16 December 1998 and to revoke those made on 16 December 1998. The byelaw be amended to include that employment of a child aged 13 years in light agricultural or horticultural work was permitted by and under direct supervision of parents or guardians on an occasional basis.

 

Councillor Ian Brookfield proposed and Councillor Milkinder Jaspal seconded the recommendations.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That the recommendation of the Cabinet (Resources) Panel be approved to opt-in to a sector led body either jointly with the seven West Midlands Combined Authority councils or if a joint agreement cannot be reached then a sole appointment of external auditors for 2018/19 onwards for a maximum of five years and that authority was delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to award the contract when the appointment process was completed.

 

9.

Written Questions pdf icon PDF 52 KB

[That the Cabinet Member for Education responds to the question received]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Udey Sigh asked the following question:

 

According to research it is widely acknowledged that children from white working class in the UK are falling behind their BME counterparts in terms of education. Can the Cabinet Member confirm whether this is also the case in Wolverhampton?

 

Councillor Claire Darke confirmed that the City of Wolverhampton reflected national trend.

 

Councillor Udey Singh asked a supplementary question:

 

Could the Cabinet Member advise whether a specific strategy had been developed for white working class children to ensure they do not fall behind their BME counterparts?

 

Councillor Claire Darke responded that all children deserved a good start to life. The United Nations was concerned that austerity policies have pushed children further into poverty. Children had a difficult journey and required support. 85% of schools were good or outstanding in Wolverhampton and six schools have a national profile. Schools were strong and improving.