Agenda and draft minutes

Consultative, Council - Wednesday, 20th April, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Online via the Zoom App

Contact: Susan Howl, Democratic Services Manager  01395 517541; email  showl@eastdevon.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

79.

Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online

 

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed members of the public and Councillors to the meeting and explained that all participants were taking part remotely and the meeting was also being viewed online and recorded.

He outlined that based on the decision at the Council meeting on 8 December, when Members voted in favour of the continuation of virtual meetings until 11 May 2022, the Council had delegated much of its decision taking power to Senior Officers, due to continuing concerns related to COVID risk in this area. Consequently, the meeting was being held on a consultative basis only, and the normal procedural rules as detailed in the Council’s Constitution, would continue to be closely adhered to.  

Accordingly, where the meeting would have normally decided a matter, it will now make a recommendation to a Senior Officer. The Officer will then take that recommendation into account, when making their decision.   

 

The Chair then started the meeting by doing a roll call of those present, and confirmed that the meeting was quorate.

 

During the meeting the public would be able to participate if they had pre-registered to speak. 

No members of the public had pre-registered to speak at this meeting.

 

80.

Minutes of the previous meetings pdf icon PDF 410 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair asked for comments on the minutes of the consultative meetings of Council held on 21st and 23rd February, and the Extraordinary Council meeting held on 22nd March 2022.

 

Cllr Ranger advised that a correction was required in the minutes of 21st February, under minute 59, Public speaking. In the penultimate paragraph, the words ‘at this crossing’ should be replaced with ‘in Newton Poppleford’.

 

The Chair then invited Cllrs to vote in favour, against or abstaining the receiving and noting of the minutes.

Following a vote the Chair confirmed the minutes of 21st February with the correction duly noted, 23rd February and 22nd March 2022 were received and noted.

 

81.

Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest

 

Minutes:

83. Announcements from the Chair and Leader.

Councillor Eleanor Rylance, Personal, Has signed up to be a Host for a Ukraine family.

 

83. Announcements from the Chair and Leader.

Councillor Peter Faithfull, Personal, Member of Ottery Refugee Response Group.

 

83. Announcements from the Chair and Leader.

Councillor Phil Twiss, Personal, Finance Portfolio Holder at Devon County Council, and will accordingly make no contribution to the debate about  Government funding for refugees.

 

86. Reports from the Cabinet and the Council's Committees and questions on those reports.

Councillor Jess Bailey, Personal, Serving member of Devon County Council.

 

87. Appointment of Independent Community Representatives on the Housing Review Board.

Councillor Paul Hayward, Personal, One of the individuals joining the Housing Review Board is well known to the Councillor, who will accordingly abstain from voting on this item.

 

87. Appointment of Independent Community Representatives on the Housing Review Board.

Councillor Sarah Jackson, Personal, One of the individuals joining the Housing Review Board is well known to the Councillor, who will accordingly abstain from voting on this item.

 

82.

Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online

 

Minutes:

There were no matters of urgency.

83.

Announcements from the Chair and Leader

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that given the views of members who attended the meeting on 23rd February, it was agreed that the Annual Council meeting in May would be held at the Ocean Suite in Exmouth. Since it was not available on May 11th, the date originally scheduled for the meeting, it had been agreed to move it to the following week, on Thursday 19th May.

 

He then gave a brief update on the situation relating to Ukrainian refugees in East Devon.

He said that EDDC had been working collaboratively with DCC and other Devon districts to deliver the role that the Government had prescribed for local authorities in the effort to provide safe refuge for people fleeing the invasion of Ukraine.  This work centred on checking the suitability of property offered by sponsor/host families, safeguarding checks on host households, administering subsistence payments to refugees and sponsor households, and welcome/support/integration for refugees.

 

EDDC was originally advised that 37 sponsor households were located in East Devon and it is likely that this number will increase over time.

 

To date the Private Sector Housing Team have 50 booked accommodation checks.  Of those, 18 inspections have been completed so far and all have passed the suitability tests. There are 2 sponsors who have no guests and may be available for rematching / move-on schemes.

 

Alongside this the Revenues & Benefits Team have two interim payment requests for Ukrainian guests. This relates to the £200 payment they are entitled to receive on arrival.

 

EDDC is exploring options for commissioning a support service for Ukrainian refugees, possibly working with neighbouring authorities and/or local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise groups.  DCC are undertaking safeguarding checks and are making good progress.

 

On Tuesday 19th April a letter was received from the Secretary Of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (Rt Hon Michael Gove MP) recognising that the war in Ukraine produces new pressures for local authorities and reminding them of the help being sought. Advice received is that the Homes for Ukraine scheme has seen more than 55,000 visa applications and Government are currently expecting 800-1,000 arrivals in the UK each day from those fleeing the war. This includes a vulnerable cohort of women and children and their elderly relatives, many of them traumatised and with deep concerns for family members left in Ukraine.

 

Cllr Faithfull asked whether government funding directed to Devon for refugees would be available for voluntary and community groups who were providing assistance. The Strategic Lead for Health, Housing & Environment stated that EDDC was awaiting the details of how the government funding of £10,500 per refugee would be distributed in Devon via the County Council, but anticipated some of it would be directed towards providing wraparound services.

84.

Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the Press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway, but if confidential minutes from Cabinet and/or the Council’s Committees are being discussed, Officers may recommend consideration in the private part of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

There are no confidential or exempt items.

85.

To answer questions asked by Members of the Council pursuant to Procedure Rules No. 9.2 and 9.5 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

Minutes:

Three questions had been received from Cllrs and all had been responded to in writing and published prior to the meeting. 

Q1 Cllr Gardner thanked the Portfolio Holder for a comprehensive response and was pleased that the information was in the public domain. However, she remained concerned that Rockfish were unable to progress their plans for the Drill Hall.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In response the Portfolio Holder for Economy & Assets said that he shared such concerns about delays due to legal issues which officers were attempting to resolve.

 

Q2. Cllr Millar asked a supplementary question. He said that the public row over the Strand was regrettable, but the response provided did not answer the main question of public interest in knowing how much the hourly rate was for the consultants. Can the Leader say what this was?

In response the Leader outlined that despite any difficulties at the time, a happy outcome had been achieved in Exmouth. However he would have to ask the responsible officer for a pro rata rate for the 20 hours of work undertaken.

86.

Reports from the Cabinet and the Council's Committees and questions on those reports pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item is to receive the minutes of Committees, and invite members to vote in favour or against recommending passing recommendations contained therein for approval to Senior Officers if appropriate, or receiving and noting them when there are none. 

 

The Chair invited the Leader and Chairs of Committees to present their minutes.

 

DECISION:

The recommendations were approved by a Senior Officer. The Senior Officer Decision Notice is listed above under Additional Documents.

86a

Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 2 March 2022. Minute numbers 172 - 188 pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86b

Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 30 March 2022. Minute numbers 189 - 210 pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Minutes:

Relating to the Minutes of Cabinet held on 30th March 2022, there was a called minute from Cllr Richard Lawrence.

 

Cllr Lawrence called Minute 209 of Cabinet held on 30th March 2022, ‘Unlocking the delivery of Cranbrook Town Centre’, specifically Recommendation 2. The roll out of the district heating network.

 

Cllr Lawrence said that he had asked a question at Cabinet about this at the time but felt that the response was inadequate and not shown in the minutes. It related to the proposal to give EON £1m towards providing a heating system in Cranbrook. Instead of the original plan to use greener fuels the decision was made to fuel the system with gas, which would appear to be against the Council’s plans relating to climate change. He wanted to know why the Council planned to reward EON with money to provide a service that it did not want originally.

In response, the Chief Executive explained that the money was not a grant to EON but a contingency fund in the event of it being necessary to allocate it if the application by EON for government funding was not successful, and if the government does not offer business rate relief through the national programme for district heating systems. He confirmed that it was a disappointment that the original intentions to power the system by biofuels was not immediately possible, but EDDC is confident that Cranbrook and other areas will become zero carbon and that government support for this will be forthcoming.

 

Cllr Hayward confirmed that Councils are struggling with current government policy and its definition of green fuels which was flawed.

Cllr Arnott wanted to clarify that the UK wasn’t actually dependent upon a gas supply from Russia and that EDDC was not inadvertently supporting the activities of President Putin.

Cllr Blakey confirmed that the main reason that there was not going to be a switch to biofuels was that with current technology, the cost of doing so would have been well in excess of the cost of gas. Unfortunately gas remains the most economically viable option at present.

 

The Chair invited Cllr Arnott to move the minutes.

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted and recommendations contained therein recommended for approval.

 

 

 

 

86c

Minutes of the Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 3 March 2022. Minute numbers 45 - 54 pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Minutes:

Relating to the Minutes of Scrutiny Committee held on 3rd March 2022, there was a called minute.

Cllr Jess Bailey called Minute 51 of Scrutiny Committee held on 3rd March 2022, ‘Report on the convention of appointing Honorary Aldermen and Honorary Alderwomen’.

Cllr Bailey said she had called the minute because she wanted to move an amendment to the recommendations in the minutes and raise her concerns arising from John Humphreys and his continuing tenure in the role as a Councillor for 10 years and ultimately the awarding of the title to him as an Honorary Alderman in 2019.

She went on to say that on 7th September 2021 the Council removed the award of Honorary Aldermanship from disgraced former Councillor John Humphreys. At that meeting she had asked that the Council examine its practices and procedures to avoid this happening again. The minutes of the time state that ‘The request was made for the Council to examine its role in giving an award to Mr Humphreys in 2019’.

 

She said that one of the victims of John Humphreys bravely wrote a letter which was read out on his behalf at the full council meeting on 8th December 2021. It said that John Humphreys was under investigation from 2016 – 2021, which left her wondering who else knew about this and how he was allowed to carry on as usual being a councillor at Exmouth and East Devon.

 

Despite the questions and concerns being raised, the Council has not examined its role in giving an award to John Humphreys, and more than six months has passed since the Aldermanship was removed.

 

Cllr Bailey said that the priority and focus of the scrutiny committee recommendations should not in her view be about whether Honorary Aldermen got a free car parking entitlement or whether they should be invited to civic events.  It should be about one key thing, child protection and the safeguarding of children. She said that both the CPS and the Police specifically commented on the fact that John Humphreys had held a position of power and standing within the community, and people who hold positions of power and authority are more difficult to challenge. It is, therefore, essential that the Council does everything possible to ensure that it does not in any way perpetuate this power and potentially make it more difficult for victims to come forward and seek justice.

 

She went on to say that simply saying 'innocent until proven guilty' is not enough. Whilst it may not have been possible to prevent John Humphreys being a councillor because he was under investigation, the council was not under any obligation to bestow an honour of Honorary Alderman on him.

 

Accordingly, Cllr Bailey wanted to recommend;

That the Council commissions an independent report by the LGA or the Centre for Public Scrutiny or other appropriate independent body to be expeditiously brought to Cabinet to provide a clear understanding how John Humphreys, despite his arrest in May 2016 continued to serve as a Councillor until May 2019, retained his position as ‘Lead Member for Exmouth’ and went on to be bestowed the honour of an alderman by this Council in December 2019. 

 

In particular the report should focus on the circumstances of how John Humphreys came to be nominated and bestowed the award of an Honorary Aldermanship despite being under criminal investigation at the time. 

 

And that the Council puts on hold the remainder of the scrutiny recommendations pending the receipt and consideration of the independent report by the Cabinet.

 

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Tom Wright, confirmed that at the meeting in March, the crimes committed by John Humphreys were discussed. Despite previously being the EDDC representative on the Police & Crime Panel at the time, he was never aware that John Humphreys had been arrested or that any other Cllrs had any information regarding matters prior to him leaving the Council in 2019. Most of the meeting in March was spent considering how to prevent such incidents occurring in future. He went on to say that he was aware of how long public enquiries can take and that he would be anxious to put procedures in place about appointing Honorary Aldermen if it was decided to continue to do so, so that a proper system was in place before May 2023 when it would be usual for them to be appointed.

Cllr Millar said that the Council owed it to the victims and wanted to second Cllr Bailey’s amendment. He stated that in the case of the nomination of John Humphreys to become an Honorary Alderman, he had recently been made aware by somebody he considered to be a reliable source, that a senior individual within EDDC was officially made aware that while John Humphreys was a Cllr, he was being formally investigated by police involving sexual allegations.  If the Council is to continue with a process, it has to be one where individuals who are involved at all in the nomination process are able to intervene to prevent nominating potentially inappropriate individuals. The principle of innocent until proven guilty does not extend to individuals facing serious charges and receiving civic honours at the same time. No institution in its right mind should risk offering a civic honour if there was any knowledge within it that a serious criminal investigation could be taking place.

Cllr Millar went on to say that he still did not understand why this honour was not suspended when the upcoming trial became public knowledge. He had personally requested that it be suspended but the request was rejected.

He said that for the victims, he believed they deserved to know whether the process, if reformed, could genuinely guarantee this could never happen again, and if not, the system should be scrapped.

An independent external review would be welcome and victims deserved one because in his view, the Council in its previous report to Scrutiny failed to investigate internally and address the key concerns. He confirmed that he would co-operate what he had been told into an investigation.

Cllr Gardner confirmed that she was a member of the Scrutiny Committee but had been unable to attend the meeting in March. She did hear the victim’s statement read out at Council and the whole affair was shocking. The fact that John Humphreys was made an Honorary Alderman even though he was under investigation is a process which mystified her. She said that she did not understand how people were appointed or what the criteria were, and was expecting an investigation of how that happened and what process was followed to appoint Honorary Aldermen in the past. Whilst she had no doubt that many Honorary Aldermen have been upstanding citizens and she was not questioning this, it is an issue to be taken seriously or it will look as if the Council is brushing it under the carpet. She went on to say that it must be taken seriously, members must understand the processes used in the past in order to make sure that the processes in the future were better. This needed to be done for the victims and because John Humphreys was appointed as an Honorary Alderman at a point when he should not have been, which reflected badly on the Council.

She confirmed that she supported Cllr Bailey’s proposal and the people who were involved must be spoken to and explain what the process was. If that meant all of the Honorary Aldermen appointed had to be included in an investigation she was sure that they would all be happy to do so. It was important to know what went wrong.

Cllr Whibley said that an investigation by an independent body into our practices as a Council is the only way to be sure that nobody knew anything about John Humphreys and to understand what went wrong previously that meant he continued as a Cllr. The victims need to know, Cllrs need to know and so do the public. There are many rumours about the matter and so this would be an opportunity to clear all consciences and start again.

Cllr Arnott referred to the victim’s statement read out in December 2021, and the victim’s understanding that it was John Humphreys’ position as a Cllr, and in political circles in East Devon that obstructed the investigation by the police. He went on to say that he had intended to and did correspond with the conservatives locally and with the police.  He had addressed Cllr Twiss at the time and asked if he could confirm that there had been an internal enquiry and would he be prepared to share the results of it. The response from Cllr Twiss had been that it was a matter for the Conservative Party.

Having been in contact with the victim who made the statement, the victim confirmed that he had not heard from the Conservatives, nor had he heard from the Police.

When Cllr Arnott wrote to the police, he received a reply from the Deputy Chief Constable who informed him that they were looking into the matter, but nothing appears to have been done.

Accordingly Cllr Arnott confirmed that the Council should find the means to commission an external body to look into the matter, reporting to Cabinet and on to Council. The report from the Chief Executive to the Scrutiny Committee did not look at how John Humphreys was appointed, but it was not the brief given to do so. So the Council would now benefit from undertaking that work now, as a reputational issue.

Cllr Bonetta confirmed his agreement with Cllr Bailey’s proposed amendment.

Cllr Armstrong also confirmed her agreement and emphasised that there were two separate issues about John Humphreys’ award as an Honorary Alderman as well as reviewing the process itself, but they were related.

Cllr Twiss agreed that there were two separate issues involved. Specifically, the offences that John Humphreys has been proven to have committed and why anyone would think that the conservative party would think it was right to support an award if members had known anything about it, and that if there is an investigation, the conservative party would cooperate with it because it would be the right thing to do.

Cllr Tom Wright said that he agreed wholeheartedly with most of the comments from member colleagues, but was perplexed as to why the idea of an independent external enquiry was not put forward at the Scrutiny Committee meeting that discussed these matters in March. He pointed out that the Committee was tasked for the first time with setting out a clear protocol and process if it was considered that Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen should still be appointed going forward. He would like to see that part of the Committee minutes going forward but also the recommendation that there is an independent investigation into past events which led to John Humphreys being appointed as an Honorary Alderman.

His main point was that no one at the Scrutiny Committee meeting proposed an external enquiry, and if they had, he considered it likely to have been accepted at that time. However he agreed with comments from Cllr Bailey and Cllr Millar, but also with Cllr Armstrong that there are two separate but related issues to be dealt with. He would like the Committee minutes agreed but with the added recommendation for an independent enquiry.

The Chief Executive made some comments by way of guiding the debate to a conclusion. He said that the Terms of Reference with regard to whether it is an enquiry or an investigation are very important to determine and agree because they will define the extent to which the person who is employed by the Council to carry out that investigation or enquiry will establish the remit of what needs to be done. One of his concerns is the extent to which one goes back to look at the statement from one of the victims, which does suggest there is a history which needs to be investigated here and which everyone hoped the police would be undertaking, but hearing from the Leader he has had no reply on this other than a holding reply to the original letter he sent. So there is an important piece of work to be done if the mood of the Council is to have an enquiry and investigation and to the Terms of reference. Also, the Council needs to give careful consideration to who would be an appropriate person to carry that out. He stated that with all due respect to the LGA or Centre for Public Scrutiny, this matter is outside their territory and someone suitably legally qualified would be needed because everything that will be investigated or enquired into with regard to this, and everything that will come out of this, will be heavily influenced by the legal framework regarding complaints, allegations, investigations, prosecutions and the process of a prosecution. So those are two important considerations in this debate and it follows from that too, to know whether Cllrs want to give the Chief Executive the delegated authority to come back with a report to Cabinet relating to these issues. Also that if the work is to going to be done properly there should not be any artificial restraints put onto the cost of doing it.

Cllr Loudoun followed up the Chief Executive’s comments by agreeing that it was important that the Council clarifies what it is that it wants to happen relating to an enquiry or investigation, and getting the Terms of Reference correct are central to this.

Cllr Skinner wanted to emphasise that there was no linkage between being a conservative and the crimes committed by the former Cllr John Humphreys, or politics generally and criminal activities. He said that the issues related to the process of awarding former Cllrs with the title of Honorary Alderman/woman, and a rigorous review of the individuals concerned beforehand. He also shared the disappointment expressed by Cllr Arnott in the lack of a more substantial response from the police.

Cllr Arnott referred to Cllr Bailey’s initial words which confirmed that both the CPS and police had specifically commented that John Humphreys held a position of power and standing within the community. In the same way that the BBC sustained Jimmy Savile, John Humphreys was sustained by a political entity within East Devon.

The Chair asked Cllr Bailey if she wanted to add to her recommendation having heard the comments of colleagues and advice of the Chief Executive.

Cllr Bailey thanked the Chief Executive for his advice and said that she would like to like to include the following in her recommendation;

“That this Council requests that the Chief Executive provides a report to Cabinet at the earliest opportunity, in order to enable an independent investigation or enquiry and understand how John Humphreys, despite his arrest in 2016, continued to serve as a Cllr until May 2019, and in particular to focus on the circumstances of how he had been nominated and then bestowed the award of Honorary Alderman despite being under criminal investigation at the time. The report to Cabinet to set out possible Terms of Reference so that it could decide how to take the matter forward.”

The Chief Executive summarised his understanding, in that the Terms of Reference are going to be limited in time to the time after John Humphreys was arrested and matters following his arrest.  This is clear and provides a point in time that things can follow through from. He referred to his concern that when Cllr Wragg read out the letter from the individual who had been abused by John Humphreys, it indicated potential conspiracy and possibly involving freemasonry dating back over 20 years, which is why it is important to be clear about what it is that is being asked for. The point of arrest is a helpful timeframe and someone else can provide another perspective in terms of the legal framework. On that basis he said that he thought he could bring a report to Cabinet relatively speedily looking into how to progress matters.

Cllr Arnott said that the Chief Executive needed to have time outside the meeting to consider the appropriate time period covered by any enquiry or investigation but he considered it likely that a start date of 2016 would still enable any issues occurring earlier to be touched upon. He went on to say that a Criminal QC or similar would consider possible interviews required and how to deal with such issues relating to court transcripts.

Cllr Tom Wright wanted to return to the issue of the minutes of the Scrutiny Committee and recommendations therein. He wanted the minutes and existing recommendations to go forward in order for a new process to be put in place, as the investigation as suggested is likely to go on past May 2023, and the two should run concurrently.

The Chief Executive clarified that the minutes from the Scrutiny Committee with recommendations A-G to Council had not been agreed already and so were to be adopted at the meeting tonight, with the possibility of adding a further recommendation H, in the form of Cllr Bailey’s proposal incorporated into the minutes.

The Chair clarified that this would enable the Council to approve the actions suggested, but also placed the recommendations within a Scrutiny framework which seemed very appropriate.

Cllr Millar stated that the intention had been to pause all other recommendations whilst undertaking an external investigation, not to undermine the work done by Scrutiny Committee, but to revisit them after the investigation had taken place.

Cllr Bailey confirmed that her intention had been to pause recommendations A-G, not to remove them altogether, because she was hoping that the process would not be a lengthy one and the other recommendations would improve the situation.

The Chief Executive advised that Cllrs needed to go into this with their eyes open and once it is possible to go back to them with costs and after making sure that the right person is available to conduct the work required. It may not be proportionate to assume that everything can be done before May next year.

Cllr Tom Wright clarified that one of the recommendations from Scrutiny was to consider the option of whether to appoint further Honorary Aldermen at all in future. If it was the case that it did not, the whole issue of having a process in place would be taken out of the equation.

Cllr Loudoun confirmed that Cllr Bailey’s proposal and Cllr Millar’s support was based on pausing the recommendations A-G and supplementing them with the new proposal. However, he also said that it would be necessary to consider the cost, timescale and remit of an investigation or enquiry and he presumed that this did not mean that the original recommendations could not be revisited at any time, and that doing one did not negate the other.

Cllr Jackson said that the appointment of Honorary Aldermen/Women is not time critical so if the Council has no process in place, it cannot appoint any more until it is in a position to do that when a new process has been devised from a position of knowledge after an investigation or enquiry.

Cllr Bonetta called for a recorded vote which was seconded by Cllr Skinner.

The Chair invited members to vote in favour, against or to abstain for a recorded vote.

Following a vote the Chair confirmed a recorded vote would take place on the following;

That the Council requests that the Chief Executive provides a report to Cabinet at the earliest opportunity to enable it to consider commissioning an independent investigation or enquiry by an appropriate independent body. That a report will thereafter be brought to Cabinet to provide a clear understanding how John Humphreys, despite his arrest in May 2016 continued to serve as a Councillor until May 2019, retained his position as ‘Lead Member for Exmouth’ and went on to be bestowed the honour of an alderman by this Council in December 2019. 

In particular the report should focus on the circumstances of how John Humphreys came to be nominated and bestowed the award of an Honorary Aldermanship despite being under criminal investigation at the time. 

 

And that the Council puts on hold the remainder of the Scrutiny Committee recommendations A-G pending the receipt and consideration of the independent report by the Cabinet.”

 

Recorded vote:

Councillors Megan Armstrong, Paul Arnott, Jess Bailey, Denise Bickley, Kevin Blakey, Kim Bloxham, Jake Bonetta, Colin Brown, Andrew Colman, Olly Davey, Bruce De Saram, Alan Dent, Peter Faithfull, Cathy Gardner, Marcus Hartnell, Sam Hawkins, Paul Hayward, Nick Hookway, Stuart Hughes, Sarah Jackson, Vicky Johns, Jamie Kemp, Richard Lawrence, Dan Ledger, John Loudoun, Dawn Manley, Tony McCollum, Paul Millar, Andrew Moulding,  Geoff Pratt, Val Ranger, Marianne Rixson, Jack Rowland, Eleanor Rylance, Philip Skinner, Brenda Taylor, Ian Thomas, Joe Whibley, Tony Woodward,  Chris Wright, Tom Wright- voted in favour – 41.

 

Councillor Phil Twiss – abstained – 1.

 

RECOMMENDATION;

That the Council requests that the Chief Executive provides a report to Cabinet at the earliest opportunity to enable it to consider commissioning an independent investigation or enquiry by an appropriate independent body. That a report will thereafter be brought to Cabinet to provide a clear understanding how John Humphreys, despite his arrest in May 2016 continued to serve as a Councillor until May 2019, retained his position as ‘Lead Member for Exmouth’ and went on to be bestowed the honour of an alderman by this Council in December 2019. 

In particular the report should focus on the circumstances of how John Humphreys came to be nominated and bestowed the award of an Honorary Aldermanship despite being under criminal investigation at the time. 

 

And that the Council puts on hold the remainder of the Scrutiny Committee recommendations A-G pending the receipt and consideration of the independent report by the Cabinet.

 

 

The Chair then invited Cllr Tom Wright to move the minutes with the changes duly noted to the recommendations following the recorded vote.

 

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted and recommendations contained therein recommended for approval.

 

86d

Minutes of the Extraordinary meeting of Scrutiny Committee held on 17 March 2022. Minute numbers 55 - 57 pdf icon PDF 171 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

86e

Minutes of the Housing Review Board meeting held on 24 March 2022. Minute numbers 29 - 47 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86f

Minutes of the Housing Review Board held on 7 April 2022. Minute numbers 48 - 61 pdf icon PDF 267 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86g

Minutes of the Strategic Planning Committee meeting held on 22 February 2022. Minute numbers 76 - 87 pdf icon PDF 332 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86h

Minutes of the Strategic Planning Committee meeting held on 8 March 2022. Minute numbers 88 - 96 pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86i

Minutes of the Strategic Planning Committee meeting held on 5 April 2022. Minute numbers 97 - 105 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted and recommendation contained therein recommended for approval.

 

86j

Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 16 February 2022. Minute numbers 101 - 114 pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86k

Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 23 February 2022. Minute numbers 115 - 117 pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86l

Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 16 March 2022. Minute numbers 118 - 130 pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86m

Minutes of the Licensing & Enforcement Committee meeting held on 23 February 2022. Minute numbers 20 - 27 pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86n

Minutes of the Licensing & Enforcement Committee held on 13 April 2022. Minute numbers 28 - 35 pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted and recommendation contained therein recommended for approval.

 

86o

Minutes of the Audit & Governance Committee meeting held on 16 March 2022. Minute numbers 39 - 51 pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86p

Minutes of the Personnel Committee meeting held on 22 March 2022. Minute numbers 32 - 38 pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted.

 

 

86q

Minutes of the Standards Committee held on 12 April 2022. Minute numbers 14 - 21 pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Minutes:

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the above minutes were received and noted and recommendations contained therein recommended for approval.

 

 

87.

Appointment of Independent Community Representatives on the Housing Review Board

This item is to seek Council’s endorsement to the appointment of two Independent Community Representatives as co-optees on the Housing Review Board, following interviews on 6th April to fill existing vacancies. The two individuals are Sara Clarke and Rob Robinson.

Minutes:

This item is to seek Council’s endorsement to the appointment of two Independent Community Representatives as co-optees on the Housing Review Board, following interviews on 6th April to fill existing vacancies. The two individuals are Sara Clarke and Rob Robinson.

Cllr Armstrong asked whether any information had been available for members about the background of the individuals and why they had been interested in applying for the roles, and if not, whether this could happen in future. The Chair confirmed that he would pass on this request to the relevant officers.

The Chair then invited members to vote in favour or against endorsing the appointments.

Following a vote the Chair confirmed that the Sara Clarke and Rob Robinson be recommended for appointment as co-optee Independent Community Representatives to the Housing Review Board.

 

He then thanked everyone, including members of the public for their attendance and the meeting ended at 8.02pm.