Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Reading

Contact: Michael Popham - Democratic Services Manager  Email: michael.popham@reading.gov.uk

Link: webcast of meeting

Media

Items
No. Item

49.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive Mayor’s Announcements.

Minutes:

(a)           Christchurch Terrorist Attack

 

The Council condemned the extreme terrorist violence, which targeted two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15 March 2019. Fifty people had lost their lives in the deadly terror attack and at least another fifty people had been seriously injured.  The Council stood in silence to pay its respects and demonstrate solidarity with those people who had died or been affected by this horrendous act of violence. 

 

(b)           Retiring Councillors

As this was be the last meeting of the Council prior to the local elections on 2 May 2019, the Mayor thanked all those councillors who would not be standing for re-election for their service to the Council.

50.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 97 KB

The Mayor to sign the Minutes of the proceedings of the previous Council Meeting.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 February 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

51.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To receive petitions in accordance with Standing Order 8.

Minutes:

Sarah Watchman and Ettha Mace- Whitehouse presented a petition in the following terms:

 

“Save the ERAPA Play Area

In the next 12 months, the Council intends to remove the ERAPA (London Road side) play area in Palmer Park when it reaches its end of life.

This play equipment is hugely well-used and well-loved by families and children from all across East Reading.  The play equipment was designed to be accessed by disabled children meaning everyone can play.

Please, Reading Council, when the equipment is no longer usable - replace it and let children continue to play ?!”

RESPONSE by Councillor Hacker (Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation):

 

The play equipment that was formerly within the ERAPA site consists of a multi-unit with walkways and bridges, a wheelchair roundabout, swings and a small ballcourt. The age of the multi-unit is not known as it was not purchased or installed by the Council’s Parks Team, but by staff from the former ERAPA group. Since the closure of ERAPA the equipment has been maintained by the Parks Team. As various parts become worn and fail, it is not possible to replace them, as the company that supplied the unit were based in the USA and are no longer in business. Other playground manufacturers have stated that they will not make replacement parts for another company’s equipment, particularly as the unit does not conform to current European safety standards. Recently the Council’s Playground Officer had to remove a faulty slide from the unit. As a consequence, the entry point to access the slide has had to be boarded up, limiting the overall play value of the unit. Other play elements are showing signs of wear. As they become unsafe to use, the Council has no option but to remove them.

The removal of the equipment at the former ERAPA site is therefore a H&S requirement.

 

A decision was made to invest significantly in the Palmer Park play area adjacent to Wokingham Road and the café, only 270m away from the former ERAPA site, with greater provision for children with special needs. In 2009 the play area was enlarged to allow for more free play; basket swings were dotted around the site, on grass, which is accessible by wheelchair; a large new rope swinger, on which parents can play with (and therefore hold) children with mobility problems, was installed; and trampolines were introduced, where disabled children can be bounced by an adult. Other equipment aimed at children with a range of challenges was installed. Some of the play equipment was installed in more remote locations, to accommodate the needs of children who prefer to play away from the melee of the main play area. This was intended as a significant improvement on the old ERAPA playground, which effectively segregated disabled children from other children.

Not only is a single larger play facility far more inclusive than separating out disabled play, but one larger play facility better serves community needs than  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 9.

Minutes:

 

Questioner

Subject

Answer

1.

Tony Warrell

Crossing Points

Cllr Page

2.

Micky Leng

Council Houses Built in Reading

Cllr Ennis

3.

Micky Leng

Council House Building

Cllr Ennis

4.

Richard Stainthorp

William Marshal

Cllr Hacker

5.

Richard Stainthorp

Adolescent Mental Health

Cllr Pearce

6.

Mark Lawrence

LGBT History Month

Cllr James

7.

Glenn Dennis

Local Government Funding

Cllr Lovelock

8.

Glenn Dennis

Public Health Funding

Cllr Hoskin

9.

Peter Burt

Reading Leisure Centres

Cllr Hoskin

10.

Peter Burt

Arthur Hill Swimming Pool

Cllr Lovelock

 

As there was insufficient time, pursuant to Standing Order 9(6), written replies to Questions 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 above would be provided in accordance with Standing Order 11(3).

 

(The full text of the questions and replies was made available on the Reading Borough Council website).

 

53.

Questions from Councillors pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 10.

Minutes:

 

Questioner

Subject

Answer

1.

Cllr Ayub

Business Improvement District

Cllr Lovelock

2.

Cllr Debs Absolom

Register Office Services

Cllr Brock

3.

Cllr Debs Absolom

Trading Standards Team

Cllr Brock

4.

Cllr McGonigle

Glyphosate products

Cllr James

5.

Cllr Barnett-Ward

Readybike

Cllr Page

6.

Cllr Josh Williams

Cycle Lanes/Readybike Scheme

Cllr Page

 

(The full text of the questions and replies was made available on the Reading Borough Council website).

 

54.

Councillors' Allowances Scheme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Report by Director of Resources

Minutes:

The Director of Resources submitted a report recommending that the Council considered the findings of the Independent Remuneration Panel and adopted a scheme of Councillors’ Allowances for the financial year 2019/20.

 

The report stated that the Independent Remuneration Panel met annually to consider a scheme of allowances and pensions for councillors and to make recommendations to Council.  The report noted that the Panel was currently conducting a full review of Councillors’ Allowances and would submit the findings from its review to a future meeting of the Council for consideration.  In the meantime, the Panel recommended that the total budget for Councillors’ allowances and the levels of allowances for all councillors should stay at the same level as set for 2018/19.  The overall budget should therefore be £448,597 in respect of councillors’ allowances; basic allowance for all councillors should remain set at £8,220 per annum; and the remainder of the budget should be split between the Leader, Deputy Leader and recipients of special responsibility allowances as set out in Section 3 of the report.  The report had appended the Remuneration Panel’s Interim Findings at Appendix A.

 

The following motion was moved by Councillor Lovelock and seconded by Councillor Page and CARRIED:

 

Resolved –

(1)           That it be noted that the Independent Remuneration Panel was currently conducting a full review of Councillors’ Allowances and would submit the findings from its review to a future meeting of the Council for consideration;

(2)           That, pending the outcome of the Independent Remuneration Panel’s review and its consideration by Council, the scheme for Councillors’ Allowances for 2019/20 remain unchanged from that agreed for 2018/19, as set out below:

 

Interim Recommendations of Remuneration Panel

 

That the recommendations of the independent Remuneration Panel, in respect of the scheme of allowances to be paid by the authority to Councillors for the financial year 2019-2020, be accepted and approved as follows:

 

(1)     That, for 2019-20, the total sum for the payment of Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances to councillors remain at the same level as set for 2018-19 at £448,597;

 

(2)     That, within this total sum, the provision for the payment of Basic Allowance to all councillors remain at £378,125; and the Basic Allowance paid to individual councillors remain the same at £8,220 a year;

(3)     That the Special Responsibility Allowances payments remain the same, as follows:

(a)     the amount paid to the Leader to be £7,004;

(b)     the amount paid to the Deputy Leader to be £5,722;

(c)      the amount paid to SRA Tier 1 to be £3,816;

(d)     the amount paid to SRA Tier 2 to be £2,147;

(e)     the amount paid to SRA Tier 3 to be £1,074.

        

No councillor shall receive more than one Special Responsibility Allowance;

 

(4)     That the existing categorisation of tiers should remain unchanged, as follows:

·                Tier 1 to be paid to theLead Councillors and to the Leader of the main opposition Group (9 Councillors currently in receipt in 2018/19);

·                Tier 2 to be paid to the Chairs of Committees and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Report by Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute 18 of the Personnel Committee held on 14 March 2019, the Director of Resources submitted a report outlining the draft pay policy statement, which was appended to the report.  The report stated that Local Authorities were required under Section 38(1) of the Localism Act 2011 (the Act) to prepare a Pay Policy Statement that articulated the Council’s policy towards the pay of the workforce, particularly senior staff and the lowest paid employees.

 

The report explained that each local authority was an individual employer in its own right and had the autonomy to make decisions on pay that were appropriate to local circumstances and which delivered value for money for local taxpayers.  Section 40 of the Act required authorities, in developing their Pay Policy Statement, to have regard to any guidance that had been published by the Secretary of State.  This included Communities and Local Government guidance on Openness and Accountability in Local Pay and the Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency (as amended).  The Act basically required Councils to produce a Pay Policy Statement annually that was accessible for council tax payers to be able to take an informed view of whether local decisions on all aspects of remuneration were fair.

 

The following motion was moved by Councillor Lovelock and seconded by Councillor Page and CARRIED:

 

Resolved:

 

That the Pay Policy Statement 2019/20, as appended to the report, be approved to take effect from 1 April 2019.

 

56.

Review of Polling Places 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Report by Returning Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute 52 of Policy Committee on 26 November 2018, and in accordance with the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), which required the Council to undertake a review of its polling districts and polling places every four years to a national timetable, the Returning Officer submitted a report on the results of the consultation exercise undertaken for the 2018-19 review of polling districts and polling places in Reading, and setting out the responses received. The report also reviewed the deployment of polling stations within polling places.

 

The report explained that the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 (the 2013 Act) introduced a change to the timing of compulsory reviews of UK Parliamentary polling districts and polling places.  The previous review had taken place in 2014, and the results were reported to Council on 21 October 2014 (Minute 30 refers).  The notice of the 2018-19 review had been published on 3 December 2018, on the Council’s website, at the Civic Offices, and in the Council’s libraries.  The deadline for responses was 2 January 2019.

 

This year’s review had attracted 37 responses: a significant increase from the 7 responses generated by the 2014 review. The comments were set out in the schedule at Appendix A, and included other observations on polling places received by the Electoral Services team over the past year, outside the consultation period.

 

The Returning Officer’s written submission on the review process, which commented on the existing polling stations and any new polling stations that may be used based on proposals made in the review, was attached to the report at Appendix B.  In light of the comments received, the report recommended changes to the Council’s polling places and stations and cross-referenced the proposed changes to the relevant paragraph in the report.

 

The following motion was moved by Councillor Lovelock and seconded by Councillor Page and CARRIED:

 

Resolved –

(1)           That the results of the consultation on the 2018-19 review of polling places (Appendix A), and the Returning Officer’s written submission (Appendix B), be received and noted;

(2)           That the following changes to polling places be noted: [para. 3.5]

(a)            The change of name of the polling place for Caversham polling district 3 (MB) to The Weller Centre (from Amersham Road Community Centre);

(b)            The relocation of the polling station for Norcot polling District 1 (E) at St George’s Church, St George’s Road, from the Church Hall to  the church;

(c)            The Returning Officer’s intention to return the polling place for Mapledurham ward (Y) to the Mapledurham Pavilion, when this has been rebuilt and the suitability of the new building to host a polling station has been confirmed; [para. 3.6]

(3)           That, following the closure and disposal of Southcote Library at Southcote Lane, the polling place for Southcote polling district 2 (FB) be moved the Southcote Community Hub in Coronation Square; [para. 4.3.1]

(4)           That, in the case of building works at Battle Library making the building not being available for future elections, the polling place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Privatisation of Specialist Cancer Scanning Services

Councillor Hoskin to move:

 

This Council notes:

 

·       NHS England has announced it is privatising Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography (PET-CT) cancer scanning services for the Thames Valley area which includes Reading. This will hand the contract over to InHealth, a private company and take it away from the internationally respected NHS Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

·       That PET-CT scanning provides 3D scans of inside the body that are an essential specialist resource in helping doctors spot tumours, plan the best treatment and monitor whether that treatment is working.

·       That specialist cancer doctors at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust have declared they have “concerns about the potential impact on the safety and quality of patient care at the loss of the current PET-CT service”.

·       That Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs in the Thames Valley have raised objections to this privatisation and concerns about potential impact of patient care.

·       The lack of public consultation on these proposals.

This Council believes:

 

·       That, as asserted in its carried motion of 27 March 2018 “NHS services should remain in public ownership and that elements of the system that have been privatised ought to be brought back into public ownership”.

·       That privatisation of trusted and respected NHS services can potentially harm patient care and obstruct the collaborative and integrated health and care services that would best serve the people of Reading and the wider area.

This Council resolves:

 

·       To formally object to the privatisation of the Thames Valley’s specialist PET-CT scanning services.

·       That the Chief Executive writes on behalf of the Council to the Chief Executive of NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to call for a halt to this procurement exercise, particularly highlighting the lack of consultation with the public, councils or MPs, and the lack of a transparent assessment of the potential risks to clinical care and patient safety.

·       To send a copy of this letter to councils and MPs in the Thames Valley area covered by these services and encourage them to raise any concerns they may have with NHS England.

·       Explore the possibility of a joint health scrutiny of this privatisation with other concerned councils.

Minutes:

Pursuant to Notice, the following motion was moved by Councillor Hoskin and seconded by Councillor David Absolom and CARRIED:

 

Resolved –

 

This Council notes:

·                NHS England has announced it is privatising Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography (PET-CT) cancer scanning services for the Thames Valley area which includes Reading. This will hand the contract over to InHealth, a private company and take it away from the internationally respected NHS Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

·                That PET-CT scanning provides 3D scans of inside the body that are an essential specialist resource in helping doctors spot tumours, plan the best treatment and monitor whether that treatment is working.

·                That specialist cancer doctors at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust have declared they have “concerns about the potential impact on the safety and quality of patient care at the loss of the current PET-CT service”.

·                That Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs in the Thames Valley have raised objections to this privatisation and concerns about potential impact of patient care.

·                The lack of public consultation on these proposals.

This Council believes:

·                That, as asserted in its carried motion of 27 March 2018 “NHS services should remain in public ownership and that elements of the system that have been privatised ought to be brought back into public ownership”.

·                That privatisation of trusted and respected NHS services can potentially harm patient care and obstruct the collaborative and integrated health and care services that would best serve the people of Reading and the wider area.

This Council resolves:

·                To formally object to the privatisation of the Thames Valley’s specialist PET-CT scanning services.

·                That the Chief Executive writes on behalf of the Council to the Chief Executive of NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to call for a halt to this procurement exercise, particularly highlighting the lack of consultation with the public, councils or MPs, and the lack of a transparent assessment of the potential risks to clinical care and patient safety.

·                To send a copy of this letter to councils and MPs in the Thames Valley area covered by these services and encourage them to raise any concerns they may have with NHS England.

·                To explore the possibility of a joint health scrutiny of this privatisation with other concerned councils.