Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Online meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Simon Hill - Committee Services Email: (simon.hill@reading.gov.uk)  0118 9372303

Media

Items
No. Item

86.

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

Councillor Brock, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Policy Committee, welcomed everyone to the first online meeting of the Policy Committee, which was being held ‘in public’.  He expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all those involved in the Coronavirus response, including every worker at the Council, every worker in our NHS, every care worker, every public servant, police officer, firefighter, every retail worker, and every single key worker who had played their role.

87.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2020 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

88.

Petitions and Questions pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To receive any petitions from the public and any questions from the public and Councillors.

 

Minutes:

Questions on the following matters were submitted by Councillors:

 

 

Questioner

Subject

Reply

 

1.

Cllr White

Personal Protective Equipment

Cllr Hoskin

2.

Cllr White

Coronavirus related deaths in care homes

Cllr Jones

3.

Cllr White

Looking after our vulnerable children

Cllr Terry

 

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

89.

Decision Books pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To note the Decision Books published since the previous meeting of the Committee.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Legal & Democratic Services submitted a report listing the Decision Books that had been published since the previous meeting of the Committee held on 9 March 2020.

 

In relation to Decision Book 589 it was noted that:

 

(a)  the consultation on the draft Reading Transport Strategy 2036 would be extended to at least the end of August 2020;

(b)  the Green Group had requested a review of the decision in relation to the Palmer Park Development Framework and would meet the Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport and officers to discuss the concerns they had raised.

 

Resolved –

 

That Decision Book Nos 586-591 be noted.

90.

Decision-Making and Meeting Protocols pdf icon PDF 196 KB

This report sets out the arrangements to be made in accordance with Section 78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and ‘The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020’ to enable Council meetings to take place online during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Legal & Democratic Services submitted a report setting out the arrangements made in accordance with Section 78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and ‘The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020’ to enable Council meetings to take place online during the current Covid-19 pandemic.  The Coronavirus Act and subsequent Regulations allowed local authority meetings to occur without the participants being in the same place.  Local authority meetings could now take place under the Regulations with members in more than one place, including at electronic, digital or virtual locations such as internet locations, web addresses or conference call telephone numbers.  The Protocols for holding meetings of the Policy Committee, Planning Applications Committee and Licensing Applications Sub-Committees 1 & 2 were set out in Appendix A for approval.  The Committee requested that the provision set out in the recommendations that where a Group had only one member of the Policy Committee or Planning Applications Committee, the Group Leader would be entitled to nominate a substitute member, should be added to those protocols in the interests of completeness.

 

In addition, the report sought approval to suspend some standing orders and rules of procedure to enable the Council, as an interim measure, to gain experience of the new technology and holding online meetings within a slightly simplified meeting procedure.  The report also sought delegated authority in consultation with the Leader of the Council to reinstate the standing orders once more familiarity with the capabilities of the technology had been gained.  The interim arrangements also included reduced membership on the Policy and Planning Applications Committees to make the online meetings more manageable.  These meetings would consist of ten members and would include members from all political groups represented on the Council.  The Licensing Applications Committee had to consist of between 10 and 15 members with three Councillors from its membership being appointed to Sub-Committees 1 & 2 to determine applications and reviews under the Licensing Act 2003.  There would be no change proposed to this arrangement. 

 

Additionally, the report recommended, in view of the disruption to the normal Committee cycle, to grant a general dispensation to all Councillors in relation to the requirement for them to attend at least one meeting of the authority in each six-month period.  The report stated that the current Covid-19 pandemic should be agreed as an appropriate reason for the authority to grant an exemption to this rule.

 

Finally, in order to reduce the amount of business required to be decided by the Planning Applications Committee at this time, the report was further seeking to increase officer delegations to determine some minor planning applications and Tree Preservation Orders.  The details of the extension to officer delegations were set out in Appendix B to the report.

 

During the debate, Councillor Page referred to an enquiry he had received from Councillor Skeats in relation to Licensing Applications Sub-Committee 3, which dealt with non-Licensing Act 2003  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.