Agenda and draft minutes

Executive - Tuesday, 12th October, 2021 11.00 am

Venue: Remote meeting held via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Melanie Carr  Email: Melanie.carr1@northyorks.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

649.

Introductions

Minutes:

Members of the Executive and Corporate Management Team introduced themselves, followed by other Councillors present at the meeting.

 

650.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 473 KB

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

Thatthe public Minutesof themeeting heldon 21 September 2021,having been printedand circulated,betakenas readand confirmedby theChairmanas acorrect record.

 

651.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

652.

Public Questions and Statements

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice to Melanie Carr of Democratic and Scrutiny Services and supplied the text (contact details below) by midday on Thursday 7 October 2021, three working days before the day of the meeting.  Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item.  Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:-

·            at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);

·            when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.

If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct anyone who may be taking a recording to cease while you speak.

 

Minutes:

There were one statement received from a member of the public in regard to Agenda item 6 – National Bus Strategy.  Ms Ruth Annision attended the meeting and presented the following submission:

I am a long--term resident and employer in rural North Yorkshire - and an almost daily user of public transport for much of the last eight years.

 

During that time Carbon Net Zero and Decarbonisation have become phrases in everyday use this year through the forthcoming international COP 26 conference in Glasgow.  The UK Government has set robust targets for decarbonisation and bold strategies for the use of technical developments and digital technology in pursuit of Carbon Net Zero. In turn, many statutory authorities, individuals and a host of organisations have acknowledged the realities of Climate Change and declared a Climate Emergency. Ten days ago, Richmond held its first Climate Action Festival; next week-end is Northallerton’s One Planet event. Such activities are becoming embedded in the life of the wider community and recent fuel shortages have nudged a few more motorists into considering alternatives to the private car.

 

North Yorkshire’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) is one strand in a national programme of reaction to the challenges so starkly facing us. Yet where is the environmental under-pinning of NYCC’s BSIP? Late in the document, it only appears as Section 10 of 11! Where are the references to encouraging modal shift, from car-dependency to reliable, regular and attractive public transport with good network connections? How is NYCC planning to provide non-car access into North Yorkshire’s two National Parks? (Richmond, Yorkshire, is the only Parliamentary constituency with two National Parks – the Moors and the Dales, one each side of the A1).

 

The BSIP refers to “North Yorkshire’s status as a leading tourism destination in England” – bu there seems to be little attempt to meet the public transport needs of visitors on Staycations and days out - other than the incredible volunteer-led, self-funded and self-marketed DalesBus and Moorsbus.  How about linking the four market towns of Northallerton-Bedale-Leyburn and Hawes with a 7 days a week, instead of only on Sundays with the DalesBus 856?                      

 

NYCC is backing a rollout of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT), the scheme being piloted between Ripon, Masham and Bedale. DRT services are pre-booked, from bus stop to bus stop. They are normally booked using a digital App. DRT does have some limited bespoke uses – but for most passengers they are no substitute for scheduled services – that is, buses running to a fixed timetable around which people can plan travel for work, shopping, doctor, leisure, rail connections and cross-boundary journeys.  It is significant that Roger French, a national DRT expert, has pointed out that the two vehicles and four drivers on the YorBus service could equally well provide an hourly scheduled turn-up-and-go service on the same route.

 

The Government is looking for “transformational change” in the Bus Service Improvement Plans submitted to it (Baroness Vere, Department for Transport, September 2021). Could North Yorkshire’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 652.

653.

Academy closure proposal for Baldersby St James Church of England Primary School. pdf icon PDF 658 KB

Executive Members are asked to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his delegated powers he:

i.      Confirm that the LA response during the listening period should be to notify the Trust and DfE that the Local Authority does not object to the closure of Baldersby St James CE Primary School.

ii.     Agree to a stakeholder consultation (and subsequent process) in conjunction with Elevate MAT, on the catchment proposals to be effective from September 2022, such that:

·          The northern part of the Baldersby St James catchment area (Baldersby Civil Parish) including Baldersby village to become part of the catchment area for Carlton Miniott Primary Academy

·          The southern part of the Baldersby St James catchment area (Rainton with Newby Civil Parish) including Rainton village to become part of the catchment area for both Dishforth CE Primary School and Topcliffe CE Academy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 What do yoAt -Considered - A report of the Corporate Director - Children and Young People’s Service proposing the closure of BaldersbyStJamesCEPrimarySchool with effect from 31August2022 and the future arrangements for the School’s current catchment area. 

 

County Councillor Patrick Mulligan introduced the report and confirmed it was the first closure proposal for an academy school, which would ultimately be a decision for the Secretary of State.  He drew Members’ attention to the process required for the closure and the reasons for the proposed closure as detailed in paragraph 5.2 of the report.  He also confirmed it was the Authority’s statutory duty to ensure there were sufficient school places in the area when the closure of a school was under consideration. 

 

He noted the proposal within the report was that the Local Authority should notify the HopeSentamuLearningTrust and DfE that it had no objection to the closure, but proposed instead, that the Authority:

 

·          Recommend that the DfE, the school’s Trust and the School’s Commissioner engage with the School to determine whether a credible business plan could be established to allow the school to remain open

·          Request that any closure be delayed for a period of 12 months to allow appropriate engagement between the community and the Learning Trust

 

Executive Members expressed support for the proposed revision to the recommendations in the report.  County Councillor Michael Harrison noted that technically as there was capacity elsewhere, the Authority could accept closure, but from a community point of view it was always better for a rural school to remain open if possible.

 

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director for Children & Young People’s Services noted that the Secretary of State had already made a substantive decision on the closure of the school and that the public ‘ListeningPeriod’ was now underway.  However he agreed that during the consultation period the Authority could ask that they engage with the school community and the school to understand whether a credible business case could be put together.  He also noted the Authority was not party to all the information on the school i.e. its financial position, because it was an Academy and not a Local Authority school.

 

Andrew Dixon, Strategic Planning Manager for Education & Skillsconfirmed that the number of children on the school’s roll had reduced since the announcement to close the school.  At the start of the academic year the number was 23 and it was currently 19, with a further small but significant number of parents having now applied for alternative schools as from September 2022. 

 

Resolved:

 

Executive Members agreed to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency delegated powers he:

 

i.       Recommend that the Secretary of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 653.

654.

National Bus Strategy pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Executive Members are asked to consider the contents of the report and recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency powers he:

i.     Agrees to the publication of the Bus Service Improvement Plan at Annex 1;

ii.    Delegates authority to the Corporate Director Business and Environmental Services in consultation with the Corporate Director Strategic Resources to submit the final BSIP,

iii     Authorises the Corporate Director Strategic Resources to accept the funding;

Minutes:

Considered – A report of the Corporate Director – Business and Environmental Services seeking Executive Members’ consideration of the County Council’s draft Bus Service Improvement Plan.

 

County Councillor Don Mackenzie thanked Ruth Annison for her public statement submission and acknowledged her commitment to public transport and her ongoing and helpful engagement.  

 

In regard to the ongoing demand responsive pilot in the north Ripon area, he noted it had had a good start and that the positive feedback outweighed the negative.  He confirmed the trial was only three months in and that so far the signs were good but it was still too soon to decide whether it should be introduced elsewhere.

 

He went on to introduce the report and provided an overview of the background to the report and the requirements of the National Bus Strategy, “Bus Back Better”.  He confirmed the importance of bus services, and outlined the cost of those services to the Authority.  He also noted the ongoing challenge of providing regular sustainable bus services to its sparse population throughout the vast geography of North Yorkshire. He recognised the BSIP was ambitious and noted the BSIP was designed to achieve a high quality co-ordinated integrated bus network, with simple payments and tickets, clear and concise information, and excellent customer service.

 

Michael Leah, Assistant Director for Travel & Environment, Waste and Countryside Services, provided an outline of the timeframe for the creation of the BSIP and went on to give an overview of the set of asks within it.  He highlighted the necessary third party funding contributions to deliver specific elements of the BSIP, and the total funding required to achieve its full delivery.  Finally he drew attention to the planned stakeholder and public consultation event.

 

In considering the proposed BSIP, Members noted the tight timescale for its completion and the further amendments still required.  They also noted the approach that would be taken should the full funding not be realised. 

 

Resolved:

 

Having considered the report, Executive Members agreed to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency powers he:

i.     Agree to the publication of the Bus Service Improvement Plan at Annex 1;

 

ii.    Delegate authority to the Corporate Director Business and Environmental Services in consultation with the Corporate Director Strategic Resources to submit the final BSIP,

iii.    Authorise the Corporate Director Strategic Resources to accept the funding;

655.

Review of the Council’s Property Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 280 KB

Executive Members are asked to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency powers he recommend to full Council at its meeting on 19 November 2021:

i)     Approval of the suggested amendments to the Property Procedure Rules set out at Appendix 2 and the suggested consequential amendments to the Executive Members’ Delegation Scheme set out at Appendix 3;

ii)    That authority be given to the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services) to make any further consequential amendments required to the Constitution in light of the changes to the PPR.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Considered – A report of the Corporate Director Strategic Resources, informing Members of the outcome of the review of the Property Procedure Rules (PPR) and presenting proposed changes to the PPR and consequential amendments to the Constitution.

 

County Councillor David Chance introduced the report and outlined the propose amendments to the PPR and drew attention to the consequential amendments that would be required to the Executive Members’ Delegation Scheme, should the proposed amendments to the PPR be approved, as detailed in Annex 3 of the report.

 

Finally, County Councillor David Chance proposed the establishment of a forward plan of property transactions to ensure the Corporate Director for Strategic Resources and the portfolio holder had advanced knowledge of all decisions required.

 

Gary Fielding, Corporate Director for Strategic Resources confirmed it had been over a decade since the PPRs were significantly changed, during which time property values had greatly increased.  He also confirmed the Audit Committee had endorsed the proposed amendments.

 

Resolved:

 

Executive Members agreed to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency powers he recommend to full Council at its meeting on 19 November 2021:

i)        Approval of the suggested amendments to the Property Procedure Rules as set out at Appendix 2 and the suggested consequential amendments to the Executive Members’ Delegation Scheme set out at Appendix 3;

ii)       That authority be given to the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services) to make any further consequential amendments required to the Constitution in light of the changes to the PPR.

iii)      That a forward schedule of decisions, as set out under paragraph 1.11 of Appendix 2, be shared with the Executive Member with responsibility for Property, on a no less than quarterly basis to assist in matters of property planning;

 

656.

Formal meetings of the Authority's Committees pdf icon PDF 374 KB

Executive Members are asked to:

·          Review the Council’s current decision-making arrangements in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and consider the future of remote access and in person meetings for the County Council. 

·          Make a proposal to the Chief Executive Officer for recommendation, under his emergency delegated powers, to full Council for review at their meeting on 17 November 2021.

 

Minutes:

Considered – A report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal & Democratic Services) presenting options for holding formal committee meetings from 17 November 2021 onwards.

 

County Councillor Carl Les introduced the report and acknowledged the benefits associated with remote access meetings, as detailed in section 3 of the report, particularly the savings that had been delivered in time, cost and carbon. 

 

However they also recognised the County Council’s leadership role and the importance of leading by example, by returning to a more normal, pre- pandemic ways of working.

 

He also confirmed he had taken a sounding from Members across all political parties and that there was still a desire within the Council to continue with virtual meetings, but to allow Committee Chairs to consult with both the Leader and Chief Executive on a case-by-case basis should they wish to hold a meetings in person.  He also confirmed the Council’s aspiration to return to face-to-face meetings as quickly as possible, bearing in mind that Covid was still present, with increases in cases across the county.   He expressed hope that the February 2022 Council meeting would be held in person as it was the budget setting meeting.  He also confirmed the Executive would start to meet in person as of its next meeting in November.  

 

Finally, he noted that the next scheduled meeting of the Executive in November 2021 clashed with the County Council Network Conference and therefore requested that an alternative date for the Executive meeting be identified.

 

It was therefore agreed to make the following proposal to the Chief Executive Officer for recommendation, under his emergency delegated powers, to full Council for review at their meeting on 17 November 2021:

·          To continue with informal virtual committee meetings, but to allow Committee Chairmen to consult with both the Leader and Chief Executive on a case-by-case basis, should they wish to hold a meeting in person

657.

Area Constituency Committee Feedback Report pdf icon PDF 356 KB

Recommendation:  Thatthe Executive notesthe reportand considersanymatters arisingfrom the workof theArea Constituency Committees,that meritsfurther scrutiny,review orinvestigationat acounty-level.

Minutes:

Considered–  A report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal & Democratic Services) providing an overview of the key issues considered at a recent meeting of the Area Constituency Committees.

 

County Councillor Michael Harrison drew specific attention to the feedback from a recent meeting of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee, at which members had confirmed their view that the ongoing pilot travel scheme in Harrogate should be allowed to run its course.

 

Resolved- That the report be noted.

 

 

658.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 503 KB

Minutes:

Considered –

 

The Forward Plan for the period 4 October 2021 to 31 October 2022 was presented.

 

County Councillor David Chance noted two items of business shown as scheduled for this meeting that were not on the agenda and therefore needed deferring to a later meeting date, and County Councillor Carl Les reiterated the need to revise the Executive meeting date for November.

 

Resolved -   That the Forward Plan be noted.