Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Microsoft Teams (please copy and paste the following link into your browser): https://bit.ly/2V8RvXp

Contact: Christian Scade, Tel: 020 7926 0045 Email: cscade@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

Introduction

The outgoing Mayor, Councillor Dogus, welcomed everyone to the Annual Council meeting which was held virtually via Microsoft Teams in accordance with Paragraph 78 of the Coronavirus Act and Section 13 of the related Regulations. It was noted that this was a first for Lambeth Council and an example of technology being used to help the Council respond to Covid-19.

 

Clerk’s note in advance of the meeting it was agreed to reduce membership to make the Council’s first virtual meeting more manageable. It should therefore be noted that Members who submitted their apologies did so on this basis.

1.

Election of Mayor

    Minutes:

    It was moved by Councillor Holland, seconded by Councillor Kay and, with there being no other nominations, it was:

     

    RESOLVED unanimously that Councillor Philip Normal be elected Mayor of the London Borough of Lambeth for the municipal year 2020/21. 

     

    The retiring Mayor then vacated the Chair and the newly elected Mayor made the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, returned thanks for his election and introduced his Mayoral charity for 2020/21 - the Albert Kennedy Trust.

2.

Election of Deputy Mayor

    Minutes:

    It was moved by Councillor Brathwaite, seconded by Councillor O’Hara and, with there being no other nominations, it was:

     

    RESOLVED unanimously that Councillor Annie Gallop be elected Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Lambeth for the municipal year 2020/21. 

     

    The Deputy Mayor made the Declaration of Acceptance of Office and returned thanks for her election.

3.

Report of Mayoral activities for 2019/20 by the outgoing Mayor, Cllr Ibrahim Dogus

    Minutes:

    Councillor Dogus addressed the Council, thanking the Council for the honour of being able to serve the borough as its first citizen and thanking officers, local residents and the many organisations who had provided support during the year, especially in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

     

    The retiring Mayor outlined a number of highlights from his year in office, and ended with a particular mention to his two charities, the Migration Museum and Lambeth Welcomes Refugees, for their fantastic work in the community.

     

    Councillors Briggs, Ainslie and Hopkins all spoke to thank Councillor Dogus for his services as Mayor.

4.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests

    Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

     

     

    Minutes:

    There were none.

5.

Minutes - 22 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 634 KB

6.

Minutes - 12 February 2020 pdf icon PDF 294 KB

7.

Announcements

    Minutes:

    The Mayor informed Council of the sad passing of former Councillors Ted Knight and John O’Malley and paid tribute to all those who had died as a result of the coronavirus disease.

     

    Councillors Hopkins, Elliott and Briggs supported the statement made by the Mayor and highlighted that the Council’s thoughts were with those who had lost their lives and their families.

     

    Council observed a one minute silence as a mark of respect.

8.

Leader of the Council, Cabinet Portfolios, Other Administration and Opposition Appointments pdf icon PDF 363 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillors Briggs spoke on this item and stated it would be beneficial to provide greater clarify in relation to the roles and responsibilities for each portfolio holder.

     

    Councillor Griffiths highlighted that more attention needed to be drawn to the ongoing climate emergency within the Cabinet portfolios and that every decision made by the Council, in response to Covid-19, needed to take into consideration climate change and social inequality.   

     

    Councillor Hopkins thanked the Chief Executive, and all officers, for the way in which Lambeth had responded to the coronavirus pandemic. It was highlighted that the new administration brought together a strong team of individuals, with a wide range of experience, who would work together to address the challenges ahead.    

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

     

    (1)  To note the Cabinet appointments, as made by the Leader of the Council, and the other administration group appointments.

     

    (2)  To note the Opposition appointments as set out in the report. 

9.

Review of Allocation of Seats to Political Groups pdf icon PDF 243 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Elliott addressed Council and stated that the Green Group had only been allocated the minimum number of seats on Committees legally possible, and that the Green Group should have been offered the position of Chair or Vice Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, in addition to having seats on the Homes for Lambeth Ownership and Stewardship Panel and the Equalities Impact Assessment Panel to increase diversity and scrutiny.

     

    Councillor Windle stated that the Green Group and Conservative Member were already over represented on Committees compared to their overall seat allocations, noting the observer status provided to a Green councillor for the Corporate Parenting Board and that the current scrutiny arrangements were sufficient for challenge and that it would be inappropriate for Green councillors to form part of the Cabinet decision-making process. 

     

    RESOLVED, by 18 votes for to 6 votes against:

     

    (1)  That the report of the Chief Executive setting out the recommended allocation of seats to political groups, set out in Table 2 of the report presented, be adopted.

     

    (2)  That Council reappoints its Committees with the sizes and allocation of seats between political groups as set out in Table 2 of the report.

10.

Constitution 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Mayor informed Council that an update to the Constitution 2020/21 report had been provided via an addendum to the agenda.

     

    Councillor Briggs highlighted the new Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for the Pensions Committee Chair and requested a complete account of all SRAs to ensure proper scrutiny of the Members Allowances Scheme. He also stated that there had been a lack of cross-party consultation in relation to the proposed changes to the Council’s Constitution.

     

    Councillor Bartley raised two points of order, namely: 

     

    -          That all reports required advice and reasons for the proposed decision from the relevant officers, as set out in Paragraph 5b of the Access to Information Procedure Rules; and

     

    -          That those responsible for decision-making should provide clarity to local people by providing a clear explanation for decisions to the public, as set out in the introduction to the Constitution.

     

    The Director of Legal and Governance noted that she was aware of these concerns, but did not find a material breach that rendered decision making unlawful nor a breach of the Constitution, and that reasons for the changes were either in the appendices or were self-explanatory, and recommend the Mayor to note Councillor Bartley’s concerns and allow the report to be voted upon.

     

    The Mayor subsequently noted Councillor Bartley’s concerns, but did not accept the points of order and proceeded with the meeting.

     

    Councillor Bartley addressed the Council to note that the Mayor did not provide reasons for not accepting his points of order and that under Local Government and Housing Act 1989, Section 5, the Monitoring Officer needed to report any possible breaches of the Constitution to Full Council. 

     

    Councillor Bartley went on to provide thanks to officers in handling the Covid-19 emergency.  He stated that the proposed changes to the Constitution were significant, yet no reasons had be given for abolishing AMCAP, and that clarity was required on the proposed capital expenditure and altered governance criteria.  In particular, Councillor Bartley believed it was concerning that the Chief Executive could assume decision-making where they considered it expedient, not just for emergencies, noting that these changes had not been brought to the Constitution Working Group, not received scrutiny and were not provided with reasons; and asked that this report be postponed and given proper scrutiny.

     

    Councillor Hopkins responded to state that the Council was in the midst of an international crisis with unprecedented upheaval, noting that other councils had similar emergency provisions and that Lambeth Council was maintaining proper democratic accountability.  Furthermore, every emergency decision had been cleared by himself as Leader of the Council and relevant Cabinet Members, such as the voluntary sector rent relief and £1m extra discretionary housing payment. It was also highlighted that a call-in was scheduled for 4 May 2020 in relation to the Homes for Lambeth Delivery Plan and Corporate Plan.

     

    RESOLVED, by 18 votes for to 6 votes against:

     

    (1)  To note the table of proposed changes to the Council’s Constitution (Appendix 1).

     

    (2)  To approve the Council’s Constitution 2020-21,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.