Agenda and draft minutes

Annual Council
Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Blackdown House, Honiton

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

Link: Annual Council audio recording

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year

The Chairman will ask for nominations for the Office of Chairman of the Council for the ensuing Civic Year.

(The Chairman, if nominated, may not vote on his/her own election).

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Moulding (retiring Chairman) invited nominations for the office of Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

Councillor Ben Ingham proposed and Councillor Phil Twiss seconded Councillor Stuart Hughes being elected Chairman of the Council for the coming civic year.

In proposing, Councillor Ingham spoke of Councillor Hughes extensive experience as a councillor. During his previous years in office as Chairman of East Devon, Councillor Hughes had shown much enthusiasm and understanding whilst undertaking his duties and had a very inclusive style. He would undoubtedly continue to show the same commitment to East Devon during his second term as Chairman.

In seconding, Councillor Twiss said that the position was much deserved given the experience of Councillor Hughes, who had been a friend and colleague to people of all persuasions.

 

There were no other nominations.

 

RESOLVED

that Councillor Stuart Hughes be elected Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

Following the election, Councillor Hughes read, and signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.  He then spoke in response to his election.  He thanked his proposer and seconder and the other Members for putting their trust in him to fly the flag for the Council at the various events he would be attending, which he would do with pride. He said that he had enjoyed his previous term as Chairman and was looking forward to undertaking the role again. He thanked Councillor Moulding as the retiring Chairman for his good work on behalf of EDDC and handed him the badge in thanks for his services as Chairman.

 

Councillor Moulding referred to the many achievements he had been involved with during his term in office as Chairman, including the opening of the new Council Offices in Honiton, and awards and events which had raised the profile of East Devon and benefitted local residents across the District.

 

He thanked Members and his Vice Chairman in particular, Councillor David Key, for their support, and also the Chief Executive, Mark Williams, Maria Pearce and Sue Howl for assisting him whilst in office.

2.

Appointment of Vice Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year

The Chairman will ask for nominations for the appointment of the Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

Minutes:

The Chairman invited nominations for the appointment of Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

Councillor Geoff Jung proposed and Councillor Ben Ingham seconded Councillor Val Ranger being appointed Vice-Chairman of the Council for the coming civic year.

 

In proposing, Councillor Jung outlined the role of a Vice Chair as being an ambassador for the Council, a sounding board and critical friend for members. Councillor Ranger was a busy person, in full time employment and deserved this honourable position. Councillor Ranger possessed the skills and sound understanding to undertake this important role.

 

In seconding Councillor Ranger, Councillor Ingham confirmed that she had often been the person from whom he had sought advice over recent weeks, and the position of Vice Chairman was much deserved.

 

 

The Chairman invited further nominations.

 

There were no other nominations.

 

RESOLVED

that Councillor Val Ranger be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

Following the appointment, Councillor Ranger read and signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.  She then spoke in response to her appointment, thanking her proposer and seconder. She said that she was looking forward to her first year as Vice-Chairman and thanked members for the trust they had placed in her. It would be an honour to undertake the role and she would do her utmost to support the Council during the challenging times ahead.

 

She then thanked the retiring Vice Chairman, Councillor David Key, for his services to the Council in this role and handed him a badge in thanks.

 

Councillor Key responded by confirming that it had been a great honour to act as Vice Chairman at EDDC.

 

3.

Public Speaking

Information on public speaking is available online

 

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Councillors, Honorary Aldermen and members of the public and invited questions or comments.

 

Douglas Hull wanted to comment that there appeared to be an issue with Blackdown House at present, in that the disabled access door was currently locked. He pointed out that this could present a Fire risk and potentially be breaking regulations because it should be unlocked at all times when the building is open for public use. He also stated that the mat inside the door presents a hazard for those with limited mobility.

The Chairman and Chief Executive confirmed that they would address this immediately.

 

Honorary Alderman Trevor Cope wanted to make several points as follows;

That the Council should note and agree to respect those councillors who were not re-elected at the recent district elections.

Secondly, that he was disappointed to see no signs for Exmouth Town Council when he visited Exmouth Town Hall, but only signs for EDDC.

Thirdly, that following recent elections there was now an opportunity for all members to be heard. He stated that the new Council is a very different one to that which he served on which had been difficult at times, and given the change in composition of the parties now reflected on the Council, and the fact that it is no longer dominated by a single party, he hoped that Independent, Liberal Democrat and other members would now be heard and respected.

 

The Chairman noted the points raised.

4.

Minutes of the previous Council meeting pdf icon PDF 375 KB

Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 24th April 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 24 April 2019 were agreed and signed as a true record.

 

The Chairman invited Councillor Wragg to comment. She wanted to provide information relating to the Motion proposed by Councillor Hughes at the last Council meeting on 24 April (Minute 66 refers), ‘Government support requested for financial contributions from utility companies to flood and coastal protection schemes’.

She reported that subsequent to the meeting she had made enquiries of South West Water (SWW) and the Consumer Council for Water and both had provided a detailed response which she would pass on to the relevant officers. SWW had confirmed that they have contributed £1.47m to the Environment Agency Flood Defence Scheme in Exeter and were subject to regulation by OFWAT, and had to draw up a 5 Year Plan.  Sidmouth were not currently covered in this plan, but SWW were keen to meet with EDDC to discuss working together in future on such matters.

5.

Declarations of interest

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

 

Minutes:

No declarations were announced.

6.

Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online

 

Minutes:

None.

7.

Announcements from the Chairman

Minutes:

The Chairman wanted to make two announcements.

 

Firstly in relation to Blue Flag Awards, the Chairman stated that following a great deal of work between council teams and the Environment Agency (EA) to improve the bathing water quality at all East Devon Beaches, as well as ensuing the surrounding beach visitor infrastructure meets the high standards set out for the awards; Exmouth had been successful in securing a converted Blue Flag Award this year. Last year, EDDC won a Seaside Award for Exmouth and Seaton, which is a good way to prepare for a Blue Flag application.

 

All of East Devon beaches now meet the excellent water quality required for a Blue Flag application, but some do not have all of the supporting infrastructure required. 

 

We have been successful in achieving the following:

 

Exmouth : Blue Flag, and Seaside award; Budleigh: Seaside award; Sidmouth Town Beach: Seaside award; and Seaton: Seaside award.

 

 

The Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are aimed at improving the quality of England’s coastline and promoting England’s best beaches. To win the awards beaches have had to reach a stringent set of criteria around water quality, management, safety and the environment.

 

Blue Flag is an international award presented to well-managed beaches with excellent water quality and environmental education programmes. Seaside Awards are presented to the best beaches in England and celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline, so the Chairman wanted to thank the Streetscene team and all officers who had worked hard for this achievement.

 

Secondly, the Chairman wanted to congratulate all staff who had been involved in the District and Local Elections on 2 May, and made them run smoothly and successfully. He also wanted to wish them well for running the European Elections on 23 May.

 

8.

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.

 

Minutes:

There were none.

9.

Election of leader of the Council for the ensuing year

Minutes:

Councillor Susie Bond proposed Councillor Ben Ingham as Leader of the Council for the ensuing year.  This proposal was seconded by Councillor Paul Arnott.

 

In proposing, Councillor Bond spoke of Councillor Ingham’s ability to take on the leadership of East Devon District Council.

 

She stated that Councillor Ingham had been elected in 1995 as a Conservative to Woodbury and Lympstone, but in 2005 had decided to become a champion for the Independent cause, always supporting his colleagues and new members. He had unanimous support from the Independent group to become the Leader of the Council.

 

In seconding, Councillor Arnott endorsed the proposer’s motion and stated his view that there was only one serious candidate for this role, and that was Councillor Ingham. He said that Councillor Ingham had a unique record on the Council, having also been Leader of the East Devon Alliance before returning to the Independent Group.

He referred to a policy promise discussed and agreed over recent days with Councillor Ingham, to review the current constitutional and governance arrangements of the Council, explore alternatives, with the intention to seek reform of EDDC.

 

The Chairman asked if there were any other nominations for the role of Leader. There were none. There was unanimous support for Councillor Ingham.

 

RESOLVED

that Councillor Ben Ingham be elected Leader of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

In accepting his appointment, Councillor Ingham thanked his proposer and seconder, and all those supporting his nomination.

 

He referred to the promise mentioned by Councillor Arnott and clarified that his promise was that EDDC Councillors will have the opportunity to consider fully, alternative arrangements to the existing Cabinet arrangements in place, and if change is preferred then this should be what happens.

He went on to say that this was a momentous day for East Devon. For the first time in nearly half a century, East Devon is no longer under Conservative control. The Independent Group are committed to being a transparent and accountable administration, listening to residents and communities to bring about change in a planned and managed way. They intend to work collaboratively with all councillors across the political spectrum. But as the largest group, the Independent Group has unanimously agreed to step forward and “Take the Lead”. It is a big task ahead, but not overwhelming. They are determined to prove that their commitment and loyalty to East Devon is unparalleled. 

 

 

10.

Leader's appointment of the Deputy Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader confirmed his appointment of Councillor Susie Bond as Deputy Leader of the Council.  Councillor Ingham said that he had turned consistently to Councillor Bond since the departure of Councillor Giles. She recognised what was important and what could wait. She was able to address issues and people in times of pressure and was a very able communicator. She served the Independent cause with commitment and enthusiasm and her nomination as Deputy Leader had the unanimous support of the Independent Group.

 

 The Chairman asked Councillors to note the appointment, and confirmed Councillor Susie Bond as Deputy Leader of the Council.

 

RESOLVED

that Councillor Susie Bond be appointed Deputy Leader of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

In response to the appointment, Councillor Bond gave her thanks and said that she was keen to get on with the job.

 

 

11.

Leader's appointment to Cabinet

The Leader will recommend the Cabinet members to act as Portfolio Holders.

Minutes:

The Leader advised that taking on the administration of the council is not something the Independent Group considered lightly. Picking up the reins after forty five years of Conservative control would involve considerable planning, effort and commitment. They were determined to make the transition as smooth as possible.

 

As they move forward, they intend to look for the common ground, identifying common values and following a common cause: “For the Benefit of East Devon”. They will apply decisions with common sense and invite all members of the council to work with them for the benefit of communities and the environment in East Devon.

 

Accordingly, the Leader advised that, to support this, they had picked a cabinet to maximise their ability, namely;

 

Councillor Susie Bond to be Deputy Leader, and the Strategic Development portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Kevin Blakey to be the Economy portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Megan Armstrong to be the Sustainable Homes and Communities portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Geoff Jung to be the Lead Environment portfolio holder and Councillor Peter Faithfull will be the Deputy Environment portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Jess Bailey to be the Corporate Services portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Paul Millar to be the Transformation portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Geoff Pook to be the Asset Management portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Ian Thomas to be the Finance portfolio holder.

 

The cabinet appointments follow the same portfolio responsibilities as the outgoing administration to promote continuity during the first controlling group change in the history of this council. Any future change will be well informed, well considered and evidence based.

 

The Leader went on to state that the Independents had already decided not to tolerate bullying and harassment, and do not accept that the rough and tumble of politics can include the personal and verbal abuse of councillors or officers. No one at East Devon District Council should ever suffer emotional anxiety as a result of verbal abuse, in or outside of meetings, and this sort of aggressive behaviour will be challenged whenever it occurs. The new Committee chairs have already agreed not to tolerate it.

 

On a warmer note, the new administration provides an opportunity to be inclusive towards all communities, with everyone in the district having the right to be a part of what is done and achieved together. Over the next four years, whatever the future brings for the country, they will endeavour to ensure that there is no finer place to live than in East Devon.

12.

Report by the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer recommending changes to the Constitution and to seek confirmation of the Committees and their size and terms of reference and to agree the scheme of delegations. pdf icon PDF 328 KB

To agree proposed changes to the Constitution and to adopt the revised Constitution.

In adopting the amended Constitution, Council will be confirming the current Committee structure and the size and terms of reference of the Committees as set out in Articles 7, 8, 9, and 10 (as amended).

In adopting the amended Constitution, Council will be confirming the scheme of delegations (with the concurrence of the Leader).

 

RECOMMENDED that Council

 

1.    Approves the Constitution including the amendments to it as shown in the draft and detailed in this report and thereby agree the Committee structure, their size and terms of reference and the scheme of delegations.

 

2.    Delegates authority to the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution during the civic year to reflect legislative changes and to amend any of the details in the ‘Existing Name and Area of Wards and Number of Councillors’ table as necessary.

 

3.    Delegates authority to the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution to reflect the Leader’s appointment of Cabinet Members and portfolio areas of responsibility and to revise the Leader’s Scheme of Delegations to Portfolio Holders (Part 3 Section 2) so that specific powers align with any changed portfolios where necessary.

 

4.    Delegates authority to Cabinet to determine the Lead Members and their areas of responsibility and to the Monitoring Officer to update the Constitution accordingly.

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Chairman invited the Chief Executive to present his report. Mark Williams referred Councillors to page two of the agenda and the four recommendations as set out, which if adopted would agree proposed changes to the Constitution; confirm the current Committee structure and terms of reference for those Committees; delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution to reflect the appointment of Cabinet Members and Portfolio Holders, and determination of Lead Members via Cabinet.

 

The Chairman invited Councillors to consider and agree the recommendations.

 

RESOLVED that Council:

 

1.    Approves the Constitution including the amendments to it as shown in the

           draft and detailed in this report and thereby agree the Committee structure,

           their size and terms of reference and the scheme of delegations.

 

2. Delegates authority to the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution

    during the civic year to reflect legislative changes and to amend any of the

    details in the ‘Existing Name and Area of Wards and Number of Councillors’ table as necessary.

 

3.  Delegates authority to the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution to

    reflect the Leader’s appointment of Cabinet Members and portfolio areas

    of responsibility and to revise the Leader’s Scheme of Delegations to

    Portfolio Holders (Part 3 Section 2) so that specific powers align with any

    changed portfolios where necessary.

 

4. Delegates authority to Cabinet to determine the Lead Members and their

    areas of responsibility and to the Monitoring Officer to update the

    Constitution accordingly.

 

13.

To consider the report of the Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 257 KB

a)    To decide the allocation to different political groups of seats to be filled by the Council in accordance with the political balance rules. (This does not apply to Cabinet)

 

b)    To decide the make-up of Panels, Forums and Joint Bodies to be filled by the Council.

 

c)    To agree the Membership of the Standards Committee and Housing Review Board as set out in Part C to this report.

 

 

RECOMMENDED

 

a)    that the allocation to different political groups of seats to be filled by the Council be determined as follows in respect of overview, regulatory and other committees:

 

 

Independent Group

20 Members

34%

 

Conservative Group

19 Members

32%

 

Independent East Devon Alliance

11 Members

18%

 

Liberal Democrats Group      

  8 Members

13%

 

East Devon Green Party

  2 Members

  3%

 

 

 

 

 

Total

60 Members

 

 

 

b)    that the allocation of seats on individual overview/scrutiny, regulatory and other committees according to proportional balance be as set out in Appendix A;

 

c)    that the make-up of Panels, Forums and Joint Bodies be as set out in Appendix B;

 

d)    that the Membership of the Standards Committee and Housing Review Board  be as set out in Part C to this report.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman invited the Chief Executive to present his report. Mark Williams referred Councillors to pages 18 to 29 of the agenda, which include four recommendations.  Having agreed the Committees and other bodies as included in the Constitution, this report sets out the scope of Committees and the make-up of various bodies, setting out how many members are included on them based either on proportional balance or other local conventions. There are no nominations in the report. These are covered in the following items on the agenda and are to be agreed separately.

 

The Chairman invited Councillors to consider and agree the recommendations.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    that the allocation to different political groups of seats to be filled by the Council be determined as follows in respect of overview, regulatory and other committees:

 

      

Independent Group

20 Members

34%

Conservative Group

19 Members

32%

Independent East Devon Alliance

11 Members

18%

Liberal Democrats Group

  8 Members

13%

East Devon Green Party

  2 Members

  3%

 

 

 

Total

60 Members

 

 

                              

 b)   that the allocation of seats on individual overview/scrutiny, regulatory and  other committees according to proportional balance be as set out in Appendix A;

 

c)    that the make-up of Panels, Forums and Joint Bodies be as set out in Appendix B;

 

d)    that the Membership of the Standards Committee and Housing Review Board  be as set out in Part C to this report.

 

 

 

14.

To agree the appointment of Councillors to Committees pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive referred Councillors to pages 30 and 31 of the agenda and the proposed membership to Committees as set out. There was only one amendment to be made, which was that Councillor Pratt was no longer to be a member of Scrutiny Committee and was to be replaced by Councillor McLauchlan.

 

The Chairman invited Councillors to agree the appointments to Committees as set out.

 

RESOLVED

that the membership of Committees for 2019/20 be as set out on pages 19 - 20 of these minutes.

 

15.

To appoint the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Committees pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive referred Councillors to page 32 of the agenda which indicated nominations for the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Committees.

 

The Chairman invited Councillors to agree the nominations.

 

RESOLVED:

that the Councillors be appointed as the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Committees for 2019/20 as indicated on page 21 of the minutes.

 

 

16.

To agree the appointment of Councillors to Panels, Forums and Joint Bodies pdf icon PDF 271 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive drew attention to pages 33 to 35 on the agenda. This related to the appointment of Councillors to Panels, Forums and Joint Bodies. A certain number of Councillors are required to fill the positions. In certain cases there are more nominations than vacancies which then require a vote to confirm who will take up the positions.

The Chairman went through the list of nominations for each position, inviting a vote on any contested positions. He then announced in turn which of the Councillors were to be appointed.

After proceeding through the list in full, the Chairman invited Councillors to agree all positions as stated.

 

RESOLVED

that appointments be made to Forum, Panels and Joint Bodies for 2019/20 as set out on page 14 -19 of the minutes.

17.

To agree the appointment of representatives on Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 232 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive referred Councillors to pages 36 to 38 of the agenda, pointing out that a few of the appointments were contested with more nominations than positions available.

The Chairman worked through the list of nominations for each body, inviting a vote on contested positions, before announcing who was to be appointed to the various bodies as required.

 

He then invited Councillors to agree the appointments as set out.

 

 

RESOLVED:

that appointments be made to Outside Bodies for 2019/20 as set out on pages 20-22 of the minutes.

18.

To approve a programme of ordinary meetings of the Council, Cabinet and Committees for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 365 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman asked Councillors to agree the programme of meetings for the civic year, and advised them also to refer to forthcoming meetings section of the weekly Upcoming Meetings email to check for changes such as cancelled or additional meetings throughout the year.

 

RESOLVED

that the programme of ordinary meetings of the Council, Cabinet and Committee meetings for 2019/20 be approved as set out on page 23 of the minutes.

 

 

The Chairman then declared the meeting closed and thanked everyone for their attendance.