Agenda

Full Council - Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 2.20 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall

Contact: Stewart Agland  Email: stewart.agland@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

Meeting Information: Council Chamber Risk Assessment pdf icon PDF 58 KB

1.

Declaration of Members' Interests

2.

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 9 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

3.

To receive such communications as the Lord Mayor may desire to lay before the Council, including apologies for absence

4.

Deputations from the Public under Standing Order No 24

Deputations by members of the public may be made on any item where a decision is going to be taken.  The request should be made in writing to the contact officer (stewart.agland@portsmouthcc.gov.uk) by 12 noon of the working day before the meeting (so Monday 6 December for this meeting), and must include the purpose of the deputation (for example, for or against the recommendations).  Email requests are accepted.

5.

Questions from the Public under Standing Order 25 (none)

6.

Appointments

7.

Urgent Business - To receive and consider any urgent and important business from Members of the Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order No 26

8.

Treasury Management Outturn Report 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 561 KB

To receive and consider the attached report and recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 27 July 2021.

Additional documents:

9.

Treasury Management Mid-Year review 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To receive and consider the attached report and recommendations (to follow) from Cabinet held on 30 November 2021. The report has also been considered by the Governance & Audit and Standards Committee.

Additional documents:

10.

Decision to Opt into the National Scheme for Auditor Appointments Managed by Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) as the Appointing Person pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive and consider the attached report and recommendations (to follow) from the Cabinet meeting held on 30 November 2021. The report has also been considered by Governance and Audit and Standards Committee.

Additional documents:

11.

Tipner West update pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To receive and consider the attached information report (noting recommendations to follow) from the Cabinet meeting held on 6 December.

 

Please note that Appendices A-T listed Appendix A are available via the links below.

Additional documents:

Notices of Motion: Process information

Following the Full Council meeting of 21 July 2020, the Council agreed to change Standing Order (32(d)), meaning all Notices of Motion of the agenda  will automatically be dealt with at this meeting, thereby dispensing with a three minute presentation from the proposer and subsequent vote to enable its consideration.

12.

Notices of Motion

12a

Tackling Male Violence Against Women and Girls in Portsmouth pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Proposed by Councillor Kirsty Mellor

Seconded by Councillor Charlotte Gerada

 

Portsmouth City Council notes that male violence against women and girls is a prevalent, persistent and serious issue. One in three women globally have been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Violence takes many forms and occurs in both public and private spheres.

 

More than four-fifths of young women in the UK have been subjected to sexual harassment, according to a survey for UN Women UK. Domestic abuse affects 1 in 4 women and 2-3 women are murdered every week at the hands of a partner or ex partner.

 

Full Council notes existing initiatives to help tackle violence against women and girls, including the work of Safer Portsmouth Partnership, the Health and Wellbeing Board and Community Safety portfolio.

A total of £324,851 has been secured from the government to improve lighting and the redesign of secluded areas as part of the Safer Streets scheme.

 

We acknowledge the collaborative work of Hampshire police and the night time economy to spread best practice throughout the city and the “Is this love?” campaign which aims to raise awareness of domestic abuse. However, Full Council notes that handling disclosure of sexual violence and domestic abuse requires specialist training and currently, this is not mandatory for elected representatives.

 

Portsmouth City Council believes that dealing with this issue should not require women to behave differently. Instead it is the root cause that needs to be tackled: namely challenging the behaviour of men who perpetrate violence. Male violence in all its forms must be eradicated, so women feel able to live their lives freely, without fear of harm.

 

Therefore, the Council asks:

 

     Cabinet to conduct a “Safety Audit”, allowing residents to share their views about how public lighting and CCTV could be improved to promote safer streets and a safer public domain for women and girls.

 

     The Licensing Committee to look at how to ensure that all licensed late night venues undertake conditional staff training for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment, as well as taking up annual training, so women enjoying a night out and/or working in Portsmouth's Night Time Economy can do so in an environment free from sexual harassment.

 

     The Governance and Audit and Standards Committee be asked to strongly encourage and recommend attendance by all elected representatives to complete training sessions on handling disclosures of domestic abuse delivered by Safer Portsmouth Partnership and on handling disclosure of sexual violence through 'Responding to Sexual Violence: A community Approach' Or such similar training provider, with confirmation of attendance being noted by the City Solicitor.

 

     Through Cabinet for cross-party work with local services and provisions to raise awareness of domestic abuse, such as promoting the “Is this love?” campaign on a yearly basis and work together to actively challenge misogynistic behaviour pledging to call it out when it occurs.

 

     Cabinet to initiate steps to raise the positive profile of women and girls in Portsmouth to be established, such as installing street art to celebrate them.

 

     For Portsmouth City Council to write to the Hampshire & IOW Police and Crime Commissioner and the Secretary of State for Justice, to demand more punitive sentencing for male perpetrators of violence, so that more women and girls receive justice.

12b

ITEM WITHDRAWN FROM THE AGENDA FOLLOWING RULING BY THE CITY SOLICITOR - Stop The Knock: local authority debt collection practices

 

Please Note - the City Solicitor has now ruled out this motion for this meeting.

 

It is consequently removed as an agenda item and therefore no deputations on it can be made.

 

 

Proposed by Councillor Cal Corkery

Seconded by Councillor George Fielding

 

Too many Portsmouth households live in constant fear of bailiffs knocking their door. The poorest and most vulnerable suffer disproportionately from debt issues and the local authority should not be actively adding to their woes.

 

One in two adults with debts has a mental health problem. One in four people with a mental health problem is also in debt. Debt can cause - and be caused by - mental health problems.

 

Those on the lowest incomes in our city used to be eligible for Council Tax Support for up to 100% of their liability.  However this level of support was cut in 2016 so now even the poorest have to pay at least 20% of their total Council Tax bill.

 

Despite their public service remit, local authorities have some of the most stringent debt collection practices of all creditors. Debts owed to councils often end up in court and Council Tax is the only debt where a debtor can be sentenced to a custodial sentence for non-payment.

 

In 2018/19, Portsmouth City Council instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 17,534 occasions - an increase of 77% since 2016/17. Of these bailiff referrals 6,011 related to Council Tax debts. 

 

There is divergence between local authorities regarding how affordability is assessed and appropriate repayment plans calculated. The Standard Financial Statement (SFS), produced by the Money and Pensions Service, provides a consistent, fair and industry-recognised method of working out affordable repayments, for residents in financial difficulty.

 

Full Council supports the Money Advice Trust's campaign 'Stop The Knock' and calls on Cabinet to:

 

1.              Make a clear public commitment to reduce the council’s use of bailiffs over time.

 

2.              Review the council’s signposting to free debt advice, including phone/online channels.

 

3.              Adopt the Standard Financial Statement (SFS) to objectively assess affordability.

 

4.              Review the formal policy covering indebted residents in vulnerable circumstances.

 

5.              Exempt Council Tax Support recipients from bailiff action.

 

6.              Sign the Citizens Advice/LGA 'Council Tax Protocol' and review the authority’s current practice against the Money and Pensions Service’s ‘Supportive Council Tax Recovery’ Toolkit.

12c

Planning backlog impact on residents

Proposed by Councillor Ryan Brent

Seconded by Councillor Simon Bosher

 

The processing time that some residents' of Portsmouth have had to endure for their planning applications to conclude is simply unacceptable, especially for seemingly uncontentious proposals. The council notes and commends the work of local authority planning officers in aiming to reduce the backlog. However, notes that more transparency and Member oversight and engagement is necessary to support council officers in further reducing the backlog.

 

Council regrets the extensive backlog of incomplete and un-processed planning applications that have continued to build up, recognising that this is partly a result of the Nitrates Directive and ongoing staff vacancies (both exacerbated by the effects of the Covid19 pandemic). Council calls upon the Liberal Democrat administration to do more and do better for residents of the city.

 

It is of note that council supported the action of bringing in outside support to try and reduce the backlog in November 2020; nevertheless council now regretfully condemns the Liberal Democrat administration's performance and mismanagement noting that there has been substandard progress in reducing the backlog discussed a year ago. It is arguable that upon any objective assessment the current administration has a reputation of wasting taxpayers' money and it is now time to address this and put an end to the unnecessary delays impacting the residents of our city and ensure all applications are dealt with properly and that those undertaking the processing of such applications display the utmost competence and consistency with respect to the applications that are being dealt with. There is a need to review the current transparency as well as providing additional reports to all councillors as and when required. We must be proactive, rather than reactive and focus on solutions.

 

Therefore, the council calls upon the administration to provide the following reports:

 

-     For the next full council meeting which is assumed as being February 2022, to;

o    Inform all councillors of the average duration of all planning applications, in addition to the longest and shortest across the city as well as within each ward

-     For the Full Council March 2022 meeting that includes:

o    Quantitative data, with commentary, that tracks the progress made in reducing the planning application backlog over the last 18 months

o    Set out and articulated options and solutions that will facilitate and augment the aspiration of ensuring that all applications have decisions within the expected timeframe.

12d

Defibrillators in Portsmouth

Proposed by Councillor Kimberly Barrett

Seconded by Councillor Ian Holder

 

Ever since the harrowing scenes of Danish footballer Christian Eriksen receiving cardiac treatment were broadcast onto the screens of millions of people during a game at Euro 2020, the recognition of the need of public defibrillators has become more apparent.

 

On average, 30,000 people each year suffer a sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospital, and 20% of these incidents occur in public spaces. Only 10% of victims of cardiac arrests survive when the incident occurs outside hospital.

 

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can play a significant role in saving the lives of people who suffer heart attacks in public. It is estimated that a shock from an AED, alongside CPR treatment, increases survival rates to 75-80%.

 

This Council commends the many organisations, schools and communities who have already installed community defibrillators that are accessible not just to the organisations themselves, but, that are also accessible to members of the public. It acknowledges that places like Fratton Community Centre are raising funds to make sure that the centre will have access to this life saving equipment.

 

The council also congratulates the pupils, their parents and the teachers of Meon Infant School, Meon Junior School and Moorings Way School as well as the Thinking Schools Academy Trust who recently raised a significant amount of money to buy and install 2 new defibrillators alongside CIL contributions from Milton councillors for use by the schools and for public use as well.

 

This Council also commends the outstanding work and care that the South Central Ambulance Service, Queen Alexandra Hospital and staff across all areas of the NHS provide Portsmouth residents 24/7, 365 days a year. The Council would also like to thank the work that the British Heart Foundation are doing to continue to research into cardiac arrests but also, the campaigning that they have done alongside other organisations to get CPR onto the curriculum at English secondary schools by the end of this school year. This is alongside the work that they are doing regarding 'The Circuit' to create a national network of defibrillators which will link to every ambulance service in the country and in the public domain to help save more lives from 'Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests' (OHCA).

 

Although there are a number of public defibrillators on council premises and assets and further more on non-council owned land and buildings, there may be gaps in the provision of publicly accessible AEDs across the city.

 

Council resolves to ask Cabinet:

 

     To add as many existing defibrillator locations to the list hosted on the council's website, and to also add those not already on the South Central Ambulance Service's 'Save a life' App, to make sure that there is a log of as many locations as possible of public defibrillators in Portsmouth including those in non-council premises.

 

     Review and, where appropriate, seek to increase the provision of defibrillators across council-owned spaces including public parks, community centres, leisure facilities, and areas of high public footfall and to continue to support businesses, community associations and schools who may wish to install their own and bring an update report to Cabinet to demonstrate progress.

13.

Questions from Members under Standing Order No 17. pdf icon PDF 62 KB