Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Peter Druce - Democratic Services Officer
MINUTES SILENCE FOR TONY ROBINSON & CHAUDHARY DITTA
The Meeting held a minute’s silence in respect of the recent deaths of ex-District Councillors Tony Robinson and Chaudhary Ditta.
Councillor Robinson had served on the Council from 1974 to 1991 whilst Councillor Ditta had served from 2003 to 2015.
Both had represented High Wycombe Town Wards and had served as Mayor of High Wycombe.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive any disclosure of disclosable pecuniary interests by Members relating to items on the agenda. If any member is uncertain as to whether an interest should be disclosed, he or she is asked if possible to contact the District Solicitor prior to the meeting.
Members are reminded that if they are declaring an interest they should state the nature of that interest whether or not they are required to withdraw from the meeting.
The following Members declared that they were also serving Buckinghamshire County Councillors, but all remained in the chamber took part in the debate and voted on the recommendations:
Councillor Mrs L Clarke OBE
Councillor A Collingwood
Councillor C Etholen
Councillor C Harriss*
Councillor A Hussain*
Councillor D Shakespeare OBE
Councillor Mrs J Teesdale*
Councillor Ms J Wassell
Councillor D Watson
Councillor Ms K Wood
*additionally declared that they held Deputy Cabinet Member posts at Buckinghamshire County Council.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW DISTRICT UNITARY COUNCIL
The Leader of the Council outlined that the Report before Council represented a sad day as in taking the Single Unitary Authority for Buckinghamshire forward signalled the demise of the District Councils (including Wycombe District) and the County Council. But the project represented an exciting opportunity to shape and input into the future of local government in Buckinghamshire. It was emphasised that this was a merger of the 5 councils not a takeover.
The Report before Council sought approval for the process for agreeing the wording of the Council’s representations to be made to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in respect of the implementation of the new District Unitary Council for Buckinghamshire. It also sought to ensure that sufficient resources were available to enable the authority to respond to the requirements of the proposed orders and to support transition within the Council.
The Leader handed over to Ms K Satterford (Chief Executive) and Ms C Whitehead (Head of Democratic, Legal & Policy Services) for their presentation on the project. This outlined:
· The journey to date;
· The written ministerial statement, within which was the key ‘New Unitary District Council’ wording;
· The choice between 147 or 98 members on the new council;
· The option to cancel District Council elections due May 2019;
· Additionally in the ministerial statement, that the new authority was ‘not a continuing authority’ (detail was then given on how Continuing Authorities (not what was happening in Buckinghamshire) had been effected in Durham, Cornwall and Wiltshire);
· A Non-Continuing Authority example effected in Dorset. The Orders being laid before Parliament for Buckinghamshire would be much like the Orders for Dorset;
· The role of the Shadow Executive;
· The options for choosing the Leader of the Shadow Executive; and
· The planned Transition cost sharing and the key future dates.
The Leader gave notice that she wished to withdraw recommendation (v) from the report. Additionally recommendation (ii) was to be amended in that reference to ‘discussions with the County Leader, Ministers and other parties’ should read ‘discussions with the County and District Leaders, Ministers and other parties’.
Questions, comments and debate followed as outlined below. During that debate, a motion was proposed and seconded to adjourn the meeting for 30 minutes. Upon being put to the vote, the motion was lost.
· It was confirmed that there was still the option of a legal challenge to the Written Ministerial Statement;
· It was seen as a sensible cost-effective move to put off the District Council elections due for May 2019;
· Officers indicated that in respect of job losses, it was too early to give detail on these, senior management were most at threat. How much was done before 2020 was open to debate. A number of staff may well transfer over en bloc. Liaison and communication with staff, HR departments and Trade Unions was being initiated;
· It was confirmed that using the current County Council Divisions (be it for 2 or 3 members each) would ensure roughly the same number ... view the full minutes text for item 52.