Tonight (Wednesday) sees the November Isle of Wight full council meeting take place at County Hall from 6pm. As usual, OnTheWight will be reporting live.
There’s a long agenda at tonight’s meeting (see below). As well as presentation of petitions on the closure threat of the Law Centre, proposed new Newport and overnight parking charges and cross Solent travel scheme).
The councillors will also be asked to consider the Proposed Creation of a New Combined Fire Authority for Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton (Paper C); Adoption of the Revised Policy Statement of Licensing Policy (Paper D); Adoption of the Revised Policy Statement of Principles (Paper E); Reports of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources on (a) Pay Policy (Paper F) and (b) Increase in Long Term Empty Property Premiums (Paper G).
There are also several motions from councillors as well as amendments on all those motions.
The live updates that appear below will automatically refresh in the page. Items in double brackets (()) indicate comment from the author.
Cllr Brodie (Ind Labour) asks why a private security company has been paid to go through members of the public’s bags and how much it cost.
CEO John Metcalfe explains some cllrs had made comments from last meeting about banners being unfurled over their heads, so introduced new system. SIA accredited security officers have to have the right level of training. Had to make sure meeting could take place in a safe and proper manner.
Cllr Brodie said he has difficulty staying in chamber for long period due to epilepsy. He feels discriminated against as meetings extended
John Metcalfe and Helen Miles (head of legal) have not responded to his calls for motions to be brought forward so why can’t health and safety of member can be treated in same way?
Helen Miles replies but not on mic, so can’t hear her response.
Various declaration of interest being made.
6.13pm Public questions
Q1. Tanja Rebel raises issue of staff using laptops and therefore WiFi and the ‘radiation dangers’ of WiFi.
Cllr Stewart (Con leader) says staff have option to plug in or remote working. says they take it seriously.
Q2. Nick Stuart – Multi-million investment off the Island. Does IWC have a policy to look at investment on the Island?
Cllr Stewart passed to Cllr Hutchinson (Con) – confirmed look at all investment opportunities, to get most return as they can. Confirmed looked at one on the Island, didn’t meet strict criteria so didn’t invest.
Supplementary – Confirm no key policy to invest on Island?
Hutchinson – Island treated in same way as rest of UK – looked at dozen or more, but none appropriate. We do look for them.
Q3. Will Matthews – Trouble with young people – year ago asked about cuts to youth services. Do you recognise the link and what you going to do to rectify.
Cllr Stewart – link is not a specific link – spoken with IW Superintendent police being very proactive, thanked local media for highlighting concerns. Community safety on board with what is happening. Youth programme will take into account all that.
Supplementary – Do you confirm you don’t recognise the link with no where for young people to go and the
DS – You’ve misinterpreted, no evidence a direct link. Satisfied youth element will take into account fall out of investigation.
6.22pm Petition for Newport Parking
Chair of Business Association presents the petition which has attracted over 3,000 signatures – Businesses are struggling, 20 empty shops. Petition shows there are shoppers using Upper St James Street and introduction of parking charges would drive them away.
Cllr Stewart accepted the petition on behalf of the administration. Will be taken into consideration by the cabinet when they make their decisions on the budget proposals.
Cllr Jones Evans (Ind) – 3,000 voices we need to listen to. Value the amount of time given up to talk to businesses and hear their views.
Cllr Matt Price (Con) – Full support of ethos behind the petition – worked with Business Association and administration is listening. Not just about parking but other issues. Positive step forward for cross-party working.
Cllr Brodie – Critical watershed for the town, harbour regen etc. If even more parking charges, seems entirely strange. Seeks clarification – there’s extensive contra amendment from Whitehouse on his later motion. He reads out three line item and asked about it (can’t quite hear him). Chair says this will be dealt with later when the motions are raised. Cllr Brodie says not related to the petition.
Cllr Brodie says it’s undemocratic.
Cllr Ward (Con) – responds to the petition to assure Chair of Business Association that the words in the budget document were options and not proposals – feedback via the petition is very welcome.
Cllr Price says the amendment relates to future parking strategy in Newport.
Chair reads out proposed wording for motion (read too quickly) and members vote – Yes: 36 – carried.
6.31 Petition for Cross Solent travel scheme
Presented by Steve Gibbs – Over 3,300 residents signed petition who are very angry about plans to scrap this service. Please explain why they are planning to remove support now. Surely the decision should be moral one and not a financial one. It represents a certain death sentence. Has a risk assessment been carried out?
Some patients will decide not to travel for health care as the simply can’t afford it. Cancer is not selective. Horrified to hear people say if you don’t like it move off the Island.
Notice Leader invested multi-millions off the Island, £60,000 should be allocated to the service. We are being monitored from all corners of the UK to see the outcome of tonight.
Large round of applause.
Cllr Stewart accepts the petition on behalf of the administration. Happy to reply in writing. Myself and Cllr Mosdell (Con) have family members who have died of Cancer. We will have to wait for results of consultation being carried out independently by Healthwatch.
The decision on the £60,000 will not be made until Cabinet has had time to consider feedback from Healthwatch. Decision not due until 14th March 2019.
Cllr Love – Special schemes still cost a fortune, how can council give grants (£150,000) to sports people for 75 people – when £60,000 for the sick to travel for cancer treatment. It’s not conceivable. You have the power to rescind the previous decision. 100s of people are being emotionally wrecked by this. Affects the almost the entire Island.
Cllr Mosdell says they will accept the petition but will have to wait for the consultation outcomes. The £60,000 is given to the NHS and they manage it, but it doesn’t cover all types of treatment. We need to look at this properly, £60,000 is a drop in the ocean. Accutely aware this journey is not just about financial difficulties. Until you’ve done the journey you have not idea how bad it can be. Must be supported emotionally as well as financially. NHS and CCG need to underatand this. Need to be treated like the Scilly Islands.
Cllr Lilley (Ind Green) – must say we will not withdraw that funding until we have a longer term solution. Will support the petition and yes, need to get responsibility from NHS and need to get Government to recognise us as an Island. That £60,000 must stay until we get commitment to support the most vulnerable on the Island.
Cllr Brodie – asking question, petition has about 40 words, but mysterious piece of paper with fewer words on it. Which one are we voting for? Getting fed up to hear our MP working with Gov to achieve things for the Island. Might want to run it past the petitioner whether he agrees to the mysterious paragraph.
Chairman says it’s a rewording because it’s a cabinet decision – wording is for Cabinet to reconsider the £60,000 funding and keep at the same level.
Vote: Named vote
For: All in favour
6.58pm Petition for Law Centre
Colleen Brannon presents her petition. Not about getting IWC to abandon process – read her speech in full here.
Leader – slightly confused, want to accept the petition, but have a piece of paper asking for cabinet to “abandon plans for tender”. Seeks clarification. Thanks Colleen for some of the specific words she used.
Colleen says the Law Centre offers specialist services that might not be part of the tendering process.
19.07 – Cllr Brodie – Put a motion in because he understands you have to go through procurement process every so often and there hasn’t been one. CAB and Age UK might be happy. Many of my residents will not go to CAb any more because it is now based in County Hall – seen a copy of advert for tender and Law Centre won’t be able to tender for it as they don’t do all the things in the advert. Officer driven. Going to end up with mainland company like The You Trust and my residents won’t go near it.
My residents see County Hall as oppressor. Huge round of applause from public gallery.
19.13 Cllr Lilley – Many people get short notice to leave rented accommodation and need independent flexcible help from the Law Centre. National articles about large private landlords putting peole into desperate situations with eviction notices. Someone in difficulties with payment of council tax, won’t want to come into county hall to talk about. Urge cabinet that our peoplke have best professional help to get them out of situation they are in.
Big round of applause from public gallery.
Cllr Murwill (Con Cabinet) says they are not cutting the service – all tenders will be considered and Law Centre will be able to apply. Need to make sure cost and quality is right.
Cllr Ian Stephens (Ind) No greater sign of efficiency run for years and brought great deal of assistance for the residents of Isle of Wight. Stats are there to see. If put out to tender could be worse.
((Some discussion about wording on the paper))
Chair says she will make the decision that wording is that “chamber request cabient reconsider plans to cut funding to law centre”
Cllr Brodie – Proposes wording is “chamber requests the Cabinet to reconsider the procurement process for the Law Centre services on the Isle of Wight”.
Big round of applause from public gallery and seconded by Cllr Lilley.
Leader says he’s happy with wording to be to ‘reconsider’ but can’t ‘reconsider procurement process’.
Cllr Barry (LibDem) ((Can’t quite hear him)) With some research you could come up with very good reason to keep the Law Centre.
Vote for “Chamber request cabinet review funding of the Law Centre”.
19.27 Cllr Brodie calls for named vote
The Vote: All in favour except Cllr Hutchinson who voted against – round of applause from public gallery
19.29 Leader’s report
Cllr Stewart presents his report (see below on agenda). He gives the first toy for this year’s IW Radio Christmas Toy Appeal.
Tribute is being paid to the Children’s Services team by Cllr Brading.
Q: Cllr Nicholson asks whether leader is aware it’s not just children’s services, but also Adult Social Care under Dr Tozer is one of only nine local authorities to be shortlisted for LG Chronicle for health and social care.
Leader said the team works very hard and can’t fault level of care and commitment of staff
Q: Cllr Lilley – protection of environment – is IWC looking at intergovernmental panel on climate change report and is it going to apply for the IWC to be carbon neutral by 2030?
Leader replies about clean air zone – need to protexct economy – written a letter to leader of Southampton council and minister. Received reply from minister, not intended to affect economy.
Q: Cllr Love, 3,000 presents for children highlights level of poverty. Will you make statement about working with voluntary organisation to address this issue?
Leader: Yes, will focus on Newport and Ryde to tackle deprivation for young people.
Q: Cllr Barry – will there be the same level of security in all council meetings?
Leader – not sure what report that’s in.
((Audio went quiet so missed a bit))
Leader talking about recycling and new centre at Forest Road – 90% of household waste dealt with through that processer and earning income and putting energy into system.
Cllr Garrett – Refer to comments about Camp Hill site – due diligence taking place is good. Lot of people on estates want to know how much due diligence will ensure infrastucture on estates leader doing his best that boundaries of DD are being pushed as far as possible to ensure upgrading around Camp Hill
Leader – good news is that being offered. Don’t know what’s under the site, need to make sure a safe site. Infrastructure and junction must be seen in the round.
Q: Cllr Barry – update on when we get £1m back re energy company PTEC.
Leader – can’t answer when we’d get it back. Don’t think we’d lost it, need to wait.
Cllr Barry said we were supposed to be getting the money back in 2019. Not a stone has turned on that site. Planning permission agreed. Want to know what you’re doing to get the £1m back?
Chair – no supplementary questions. Chair proposes move to break for 8 mins – restarting at 8pm.
8.02 Part two of meeting begins
Cllr Tig Outlaw (Con cabinet) – New combined fire authority with Hampshire (paper C). Asks the council to note to outcomes of the consultations exercise and recommend to cabinet that we agree to proceed with submission of proposal to secretary of state for creation of new combined fire authority (CFA) covering the two counties and city authorities (IW, Hants, Portsmouth and Southampton).
Has been a long process – full business case presented to public as part of consultation over 12 week period. Majority of responses from the Island were against the proposal. “Will take them seriously” but worth noting but lack of responses from general public does “tell its own story”.
Only 48 members of the community gave their responses. That’s 0.041% of the population. We saw tonight how contentious issues can raise thousands of responses (he’s referring to the petitions) and says the low response to this proposal leads them to understand it as a sensible one.
The few negative responses were from those who believed the CFA would lead to a reduction on front line services. If that were the case we would know about it. 80% of employees were positive about new CFA. Written support from FBU, FRSA, FOA, Unison and GMB supporting the proposal. It’s about governance not operational issues.
((By the way there are five papers and five motions to get through still tonight))
Cllr Ian Stephens (Ind) – liked option 3 which has been excluded from the recommendation. Have reps that are local and know the issues and risks are locally accountable. Have to look at membership of new CFA and our voice on that Authority. Seen the way our policing amalgamation has gone. Turn the clocks back and things different for local policing on the Isle of Wight.
We can do this and we can do it, if we need more money why put fire service over to Hampshire for governance when it’s not been tested.
Cllr Barry – was going to name all services taken off the Island, so many I’m sure there’d be some I forgot. This is supposed to be a unitary authority.
Nothing wrong with our fire services – serving the Island for over 100 years. This is the first step towards and combined fire and police service. We’ll have one commissioner like the police force. You’ll be precepted from the mainland and residents will be paying the same for fire and police as someone in Southampton.
Don’t me led like a load of sheep into that. Let’s keep our fire service.
Cllr Nicholson – it’s lovely to look at things through rose tinted spectacles, but we have to have a sense of realism. See Ambulance service and CCG, it is vastly improved. Don’t forget the state our children’s services were in – only through combining through far bigger resources on the mainland that we’ve managed to turn it into one of the best. We’re not living in the past and should be embracing what this report recommends.
Cllr Lilley – accept what you say, we are an Island. We should run our services as an Island. We do have the threat of losing our identity and skills. Our HMIFRS report was better than Hampshire. In the consultation the Island was the one place that 75% of respondents, responding against it. Only Chale was for it. We’ve got to listen to people and should be going for one public realm – having our own parliament same as the Isle of Man. We do not fit in with mainland services.
Cllr Garrett – As chair of scrutiny – there should be strong arrangements for scrutiny. Not afraid of a CFA – have served on two in the past – they can deliver the job well. I’m afraid of the message that if this council goes forward having had its arm really nastily pushed up its back that if we don’t go down this route it will happen anyway, the good work that is being done that the Island is different (to Government) will be undone by continual ceding of government of the island to other places.
Criticism of business case remains same as before *June 18* warm words, aren’t the academic references or numbers, almost a wing and a prayer and hope that it will be better. My strategic view is not to go down this route. steal yourself and say I am here to represent the Island rather than to acquiesce to a threat made towards me.
Cllr Abraham (Con Cabinet) – I was in Tig Outlaw’s position for almost 7 years and when became cabinet member in 2005, the IW fire and rescue service was in special measures. Surprised how little feedback there has been. Think because FBU see the benefits of it.
Reluctant to support it – born and bred Islander – two uncles served on it. Have to be realistic, it’s a very very small service. Hope vehicles will still be badged as Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service.
Cllr Ward – I was around in the days Cllr A was talking about. Big worry then was moving the control centre. There were two dear ladies at the IW control centre, with their computer, a kettle and telephone and a map of the Island, we then went to look at Surrey at their control centre. It was like moving to the Starship Enterprise in comparison. Out of this world to anything we could afford.
Moved out fire service on leaps and bounds. That agreement was for limited period and that come to an end. We can’t afford to bring control centre back to the Island. If we don’t support this I think service will degrade.
Leader – Cllr Lilley you got me worried with you suggestion about becoming autonomous – in that scenario I would be Prime Minister and John Metcalfe would be head of the Civil Service, “which brings itself a bit of a worry”.
Para 51 of paper – some PCC can take over, but Michael Lane is not of that mind. I think this is the right way to go. Chose your partners carefully. Really impressed with amount of work put in by Cllr Outlaw.
Cllr Jones Evans – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If we had the extra money from Government would we still be considering it?
Cllr Love – would be supportive of Isle of Wight and Hampshire Fire Service. Not playing second fiddle to Hants. Happy for them to learn from our award-winning fire service. Always hear the isle of Wight is the second part of the argument.
Cllr Andre (Ind) – Appreciative of hard work Ckllr Outlaw has put into this. However, do still have concerns and agrees with Cllr JJE, feel as if being pushed down this route. Have been very involved in Scrutiny on this issue and spoken to reps from the FBU. Fair to say they are looking at adopting this CFA as better of two options rather than becoming under PCC.
Cllr Churchman (Con) – When original control room moved to Reigate in Surrey we were all going to go to hell in a handcart because they wouldn’t know where we are. IWC IT was so bad, had to renew and didn’t really have the money. We are not the Isle of Man, will never be autonomous. Placing too much of our own political aspirations on firefighters. They will fight fires whether its under CFA or IW.
Cllr Brodie – The FBU mentioned a lot – the don’t support it, they prefer it out of two evils, because of the PCC. They want nothing to do with him. Going for least worst evil. Quality of IW consultation mentioned before. Fire one was like all the others, hard to find and hard to know about. Need a degree in IT to understand where the draft planning strategy is. Deliberately designed to make it hard for people to find. About time we started to address that. Might get a bit more than 48 responding.
There are only 50 full time fire fighters not 58 as mentioned. Report refers to improving effectiveness but we are a more effective FRS than Hants at the moment.
Will be voting against – it’s being done for purely financial reasons.
Cllr Outlaw sums up – This will be a combination of four fire authorities. Re: the voice of IW on the CFA, we would have 11 voices on that arguing the case and fighting for improved services. Want what’s best for Island community. It will still be our service and Islanders working for their local community.
This protects the IWFRS and gives us the resilience to go forward. Wants to publicly congratulate every member of IWFRS on recent report.
Absatained: 1 – Cllr Andre
Item 9 b – Adoption of the Revised Policy Statement of Licensing Policy Under Section 5 of the Licensing Act 2003 (Paper D)
Cllr Tig Outlaw presents his paper – required every five years to review policy. One reply from consultation, from Ryde town council in relation to polycarbonate drinking vessels, policy being updated in relation to major events. Provides a good working document. Ask chamber to adopt and move to the vote.
The Vote – carried ((numbers not read out)).
Item 9c – Adoption of the Revised Policy Statement of Principles Under Section 349 of the Gambling Act 2005 (Paper E) – required to review every three years. Consulted on with no responses. Updated to include most recent population. Provides a good working document. Ask chamber to adopt and move to the vote.
The Vote – carried .
Item 10a – Reports of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources Pay Policy (Paper F). Cllr Hutchinson presents his paper. Changes set out on pages F1 7-8. Propose council adopt policy as it has done in previous years.
The Vote – carried ((27 in favour)).
Item 10 b Increase in Long Term Empty Property Premiums (Paper G)- Cllr Hutchinson says it’s a new power Gov has offered to councils. A win win. If owners do not bring property back into use can impose a penalty, the longer a property empty the more premium can be increased. Far prefer they were brought back into use. Might be 200 more dwellings available. We’ll get extra houses or extra income.
Recommend option 2 in para 29.
Cllr JJE – Only wish we could extend to non domestic properties that would help regeneration ambitions.
Cllr Lilley – support it – on regular basis see empty properties – Two on way into Ryde bought for Pennyfeathers that sit fallen down, derelict buildings. Fully support.
The Vote – carried (34 in favour).
Cllr Brodie – Motion about Law Centre – Most interested in the final para of his motion (Law Centre) – service is specialist, saves the IWC a grat deal of money, situation that tender has been advertised with all services rolled up. Difficult for Law centre and CAb and Age Uk to tender separately.
He’s concerned IWC is opening door for mainland companies like You Trust to take over services. Best value is not just about price, but also about service.
Problem with £250,000 refit of ground floor of county hall (which nopw houses Age Uk and CAB) is that people don’t trust county hall.
Asking for us to revisit the tender that we’re advertising, for the specialist services that are provided by the Law Centre, so the people who are providing those services can tender for them rather than full list of services advertised. Quality is important. Take our first three paras, keep last one, for “all relevant providers”
Cllr Murwill – I hope Cllr Brodie will listen to me next time, I didn’t say it was just a price issue, it is quality. We do look at the whole picture. Organisations can look at putting a joint tender together.
Cllr Mosdell – clarify Isle Help is already made up by CAB and Age UK. We helped CAB survive and not have expensive leases. Having spoken to people using the service, it is greatly appreciated.
Cllr Brodie increasingly concerned about management of corporate team (not junior hard working staff) over confusion arising with amendment.
Cllr Barry speaking to the amendment – Why would you vote for something that suggests our procurement is not second to none.
Cllr Quirk (Con) – need the amendment because the original motion says give priority to a particular supplier which is not acceptable.
Cllr Jones Evans – remember what Cllr Barry said earlier re audit – often asked about waivers – sometimes you would run out of time for procurement. Quite often with Newport Parish Council is there is specialist provider we don’t have to go down that road of procurement because it is such a vital service that can only be provided by provider. Having a strike rate of 98% the Law Centre does fall into that bracket. Don’t see the point of this whole procurement unless it’s to save money and that could be a false economy.
Cllr Murwill said millions of pounds had been lost by previous councils through waivers. That won’t happen with this administration.
Cllr Stewart – Cllr Brodie saying junior members of staff felt derogatory ((Cllr Brodie interrupts here but audio can’t be heard)) Says he doesn’t know the Law Centre is the only body able to provide these services. Our job to get best value in terms of money and service delivery. Disappointed they didn’t want to come into county hall.
Cllr Garrett – My problem with the amendment is that it seems to be doing the same thing as the motion is achieving. It’s a mischievous amendment. What people the Law Centre want to know is that we are going to support them. I fear is that the amendment is sending a message we are not going to do that. Perception is a very damaging thing.
This council is being perceived more and more through amendments to motions. There is a care for constitutional review across party. To find out how to best take forward debates.
What is the purpose of this amendment. Are you Cllr Whitehouse willing to withdraw amendment?
Cllr Brodie – I genuinely do try to engage with Conservative council. I understand the procurement process. I think the specification for this tender is flawed in the extreme, going to penalise the Law Centre for a long time.
Vote on the amendment
Yes – 20 (all Conservative)
No – 10
Abstained – 1 (Cllr Nicholson)
Substantive motion as amended
Cllr Brodie – Well done Conservative councillors of the Isle of Wight you have just passed an indictment of procurement practices of the Isle of Wight council during your 20 months of tenure, or the period prior to 2013 from 2005 when there was also a Conservative administration.
These experts over here are aware that our procurement practices are closed, opaque and illegal and have been for a while. Cllr Whitehouse and his Conservative colleagues are redressing these major issues that have emerged two years after they took power of this council chamber. A deliberately mischievous amendment to the motion, achieves nothing along the lines of what I wanted to achieve. It is a deliberate attempt to bring in corporation from mainland to provide services in county hall that people will not use.
Cllr Stewart – the spirit of his (Clr Brodie’s) intention is understood. Want to see any evidence that we are doing anything other than fair and transparent.
((dispute breaking out over changes to the motion and amended motion))
Named Vote on the motion as amended
Yes – 21
No – 7
Abstained – Cllr Downer and Cllr Stephens
Cllr Andre’s motion – Fairer Funding – accepted the amendment
The Vote – Carried
Cllr Michael Lilley – End Child Poverty Campaign – Urgent need to be more ambitious to reducing child poverty. Numbers have risen since 2016.
Huge increase in the last six months at Isle of Wight Foodbank.
Cllr Brading – disappointed it is so far down the agenda. Horrified leader of opposition is not here to listen to the debate.
Yes – carried 28 in favour.
10pm – meeting ends
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