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Attendance by Reserve Members
RESOLVED: To note that there were no reserve Members in attendance at the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from all Members present.
RESOLVED: To note that there were no declarations of interests made by Members.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2022 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2022 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
Appointment of Vice-Chair
To consider the appointment of a Vice-Chair to the Call-In Sub-Committee for the Municipal Year 2023/24.
RESOLVED: To appoint Councillor Jerry Miles as Vice-Chair of the Call-In Scrutiny Sub-Committee for the 2023/2024 Municipal Year.
The Chair advised that the call-in notice had been received and drew attention to the document “Protocol for the Operation of the Call-In Sub Committee” contained in the agenda pack.
He outlined the procedure to be followed at the meeting and the options open to the Sub-Committee at the conclusion of the process.
In accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 46.5, a notice seeking to invoke the call-in procedure must state at least one of the following grounds in support of the request for a call-in of the decision:
a) inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision.
b) the absence of adequate evidence on which to base a decision.
c) the decision is contrary to the policy framework, or contrary to, or not.
d) wholly in accordance with the budget framework.
e) the action is not proportionate to the desired outcome.
f) a potential human right challenge.
g) insufficient consideration of legal and financial advice.
Referring to paragraph 8 of the Protocol, the Chair stated that the Sub?Committee, having considered the grounds for the call-in and the information provided at the meeting, may come to one of the following conclusions:
1) that the challenge to the decision should be taken no further and the decision be implemented.
2) that the decision is contrary to the policy framework, or contrary to, or not wholly in accordance with the budget framework and should therefore be referred to the Council. In such a case the Call-in Sub-Committee must set out the nature of its concerns for Council; or
3) that the matter should be referred back to the decision taker (that is, the Portfolio Holder or Executive, whichever took the decision) for reconsideration. In such a case the Call in Sub Committee must set out the nature of its concerns/reasons for referral for the decision taker/Executive.
(a) Notice invoking the Call-in;
(b) Extract from the Cabinet minutes held on 14 September 2023;
(c) Report and appendices submitted to the Cabinet on 14 September 2023.
The Sub-Committee received the notices in respect of the call-in submitted by 184 signatories in relation to a decision made by the Cabinet on 14 September 2023, on the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Approval for Publication. The detail of the grounds for the Call-In were circulated at the meeting.
The Chair advised the Sub-Committee on the suggested order of proceedings and reminded Members of the timings allowed for submissions and questions. The Chair then invited the representative of the signatories to present their reasons for the call-in.
The representative began by explaining that the call in was on the decision on the PSPOs Public Spaces Protection Orders and read out the grounds for the Call-In which are attached as appendix to these minutes.
The call in was based on the following reasons.
The Action is not proportionate to the desired outcome.
Restriction on political, charitable, religious activities. Distribution of leaflets.
The PSPO breaches rights contained within Human Rights Legislation
The Leader of the Council and the Portfolio Holder for Highways, Infrastructure and Community Safety responded to the points raised as below.
The main issue of contention was whether the measures being considered were proportionate. It was emphasised that there had been significant issues with anti-social behaviour across the borough.
The Leader advised that distinctions were made between what was deemed necessary in the borough as a whole, town and district centres, parks, housing estates, and other areas. The aim was to be proportionate and only impose restrictions where necessary. The Cabinet had acknowledged, and consideration had been given to Home Office and Local Government Association (LGA) guidance. Changes had been made based on feedback, particularly in ensuring that restrictions did not affect charitable, political, or religious activities. An exemption was added for such activities. It was discussed that further examination was needed to determine whether the definition of organisations eligible for exemptions should be expanded to include community interest companies or co-ops. The importance of ensuring reputable organisations and checks and balances for permissions were stressed.
Public liability insurance was discussed in relation to the use of tables and other setups in town centres. A risk assessment would be carried out in cases where public liability insurance might not be necessary, although it was recommended for added security. Balancing the need for safety and practicality was emphasised. Changes had been made to the process to address conflicts of interest in permissions, ensuring transparency and fairness.
Both the Leader of the Council and the Portfolio Holder spoke about the regulations related to dogs. Different restrictions were applied based on the location, with specific considerations for sites of special scientific interest and wildlife. The consultation process had supported these measures.
Regarding the congregation of groups, changes had been made to the wording of restrictions to clarify the criteria for issuing fines. The aim was to address concerns without overly restricting lawful assembly. The Leader and Portfolio Holder reiterated the commitment to upholding freedom of speech and the right to assemble. Exemptions ... view the full minutes text for item 12.