Agenda and minutes

County Council
Wednesday 7 December 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Items
No. Item

71.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2016.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2016 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

72.

Declarations of Interest

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.

Minutes:

A copy of the declarations of interest is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.

73.

Announcements

Please see the briefing note, which does not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.

Minutes:

a)        Colin Guyton, Drybrook and Lydbrook Division

Colin had stepped down as a county councillor.  It was noted that there would not be a by-election as Colin’s resignation had been received within six months of the County Council election in May 2017. Members thanked Colin for his service to the Council and wished him well for the future.

 

b)        Rio Paralympics

The Chairman congratulated the athletes from Gloucestershire who had taken part in the Rio Paralympics.  Paralympic medal winners from the county included Andy Lewis from Lydney (Triathlon) and Piers Gulliver from Drybrook (wheelchair fencing).

 

c)         Remembering Srebrenica

The Chairman advised members that he had recently visited Srebrenica as part of a programme of events to mark the 21st anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. 

 

The Council formally endorsed the following statement:

o    To note that 2016 marks the 21st anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina when more than 8,000 men and boys were killed.

o    To applaud the work of those involved in the pursuit of justice for the victims and their surviving relatives, including the International Commission of Missing People and the Mothers of Srebrenica.

o    To commend the work of the charity, Remembering Srebrenica, in raising awareness of this tragic and preventable genocide.

o    To support the work being undertaken in communities across Britain to help them learn the lessons of Srebrenica.

 

d)        Local Authority Challenge

The Chairman congratulated the team of officers from the County Council and Gloucester City Council who won the Communication and Media Award at the Local Authority Challenge event held at Villa Park.  The team members were Philip Williams, Jenny Grodzicka, Charlotte Davis, Tanya Davies, John James and Jen Dorman.

 

e)        Gloucestershire Music

Members congratulated Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra, the County Choir and Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra who had performed at the prestigious Music for Youth’s Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on 14 and 15 November.

 

f)          Safeguarding

It was noted council officers would be on hand during the lunch period to provide information on the work of the Safeguarding Boards for both Children and Adults including the responsibilities of elected members.

 

g)        Apetito

The Chairman advised that the County Council’s meals on wheels contractor, Apetito, would be providing lunch for members.  Samples would be available of their meals and staff would be on hand to provide more information on the service provided for residents.

 

h)        ID and access cards for members

New cards would be replacing the existing access cards with effect from 19 December.  Members were reminded to wear them when they were at Shire Hall as it was important for the security of the building.

74.

Public questions pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.

 

To answer any written public questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the County Council.

 

The closing date for receipt of questions is 10am on Wednesday, 30 November 2016. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email stephen.bace@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

 

To answer any oral questions put by members of the public with the consent of the Chairman. Depending on the nature of the questions asked, it may not be possible to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting, in which case a written answer will be supplied as soon as reasonably possible after the meeting.

 

Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.

Minutes:

Seven public questions had been received.  The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 1 – David Willingham suggested that public money had been wasted and that there had been failures in the Section 106 processes and procedures. He asked whether the Cabinet Member could please advise what measures are in place to ensure that these precious pots of public money are spent on time and not squandered by being allowed to expire?

 

Cllr Nigel Moor explained that the Council was gaining £10m each year from S106. The situation referred to in the original question was regrettable and that it was a one off. Improvements had been identified.  

 

Question 2 – David Willingham suggested that by not providing data in the requested format that there were problems with accountability and transparency in respect of the funds. He asked whether the Cabinet Member could please advise what had been done to ensure that the management of the county’s Section 106 holdings was accountable to all. He suggested publishing a comprehensive Section 106 report on the Council’s website quarterly so that everyone can see what money was available for which schemes and by when it must be spent.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor explained that there were over 500 records. He agreed with the importance of transparency and stated that he would look into it.

 

Question 3 – David Willingham asked: ‘Would you be willing to support the Council looking into trialling ground penetrating radar technology on A and B roads in susceptible parts of Cheltenham and reaching out to academia or other partners to support research into the opportunities that new technologies such as ubiquitous sensors could bring to highways maintenance applications?

 

Cllr Vernon Smith stated that he thought some interesting points had been raised and stated that officers would liaise with him to get some more detail and look at ways that this might be moved forward.

 

Question 6 – David Willingham asked whether, if he provided officers with details of the inaccessible junctions within Arle Road that were currently missing drop-kerbs, work would be funded and carried out at the same time as the already programed resurfacing works?

 

Cllr Vernon Smith explained that each county councillor had a highways local budget. He stated that there was some unallocated funding that councillors had available and that if Mr Willingham worked with his local member and highways manager some of these issues might be able to be resolved.

 

Question 7 –  Owen Adams asked: ‘For the Council's Emerging Minerals Local Plan to be compatible with Paragraph 109 of the NPPF - to prevent development from contributing to soil, air, water or noise pollution, or land instability, plus Paragraphs 143 and 144 of the NPPF - to ensure mineral developments do not have unacceptable diverse impacts on the environment and human health - will the council adopt a precautionary approach in its Strategy for Oil & Gas and Policy MW06 and amend the draft Minerals Local Plan for Gloucestershire, to avoid rather than only minimise unacceptable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 52 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented the report. He noted that the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been looking at issues around unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the county.  The Corporate Parenting Group would be producing guidance for members in the run-up to the election in May 2017 so that new members were aware of their responsibilities.

 

The Virtual School Awards were being held that evening to celebrate the achievements of children in care.  Referring to the Children’s Activity Fund, Cllr McLain encouraged members with unallocated funds to make a contribution, however small, towards projects for children in care.

 

Cllr Lesley Williams stated that she had recently attended an appreciation evening for people who looked after children in care.  She paid tribute to them for all their work and she asked that her thanks be placed on public record. 

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning.

76.

Petitions

To receive other petitions without discussion.

Minutes:

The following petitions were presented to Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of the Council, as Cllr Vernon Smith, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, had  stepped out of the meeting.

 

a)     Cllr Jack Williams presented a petition relating to the safety of a pedestrian crossing near the GL3 Hub in Churchdown.

 

b)     Cllr Shaun Parsons presented a petition requesting a reduction in the speed limit on the A429 through Kemble.

 

c)     Cllr Paul Hodgkinson presented a petition relating to the reopening of the ‘old A40’ (Northleach to Compton Abdale).

 

d)     Cllr Nigel Robbins presented a petition calling for the speed limit to be lowered in Perrotts Brook, near Cirencester.

 

e)     Cllr Steve McHale presented a petition calling for a zebra crossing near Robinswood Academy on Matson Avenue in Gloucester.

77.

Motions

For debate and decision.

 

The following motions had been received by the closing date at 10am on Tuesday, 29 November 2016.

 

Motion 782 - Community Support Payments (Fracking) in Gloucestershire

Proposed by Cllr Barry Kirby

Seconded by Cllr Graham Morgan

 

This Council notes that the Government have recently changed their ‘fracking’ policy to include a personal payment to households within the area of proposed ‘fracking’ sites.

 

This Council believes that this is fundamentally wrong, as it could lead to critical environmental decisions being taken away from communities as a whole. This Council reaffirms that the protection of Gloucestershire’s environment is a key priority for this Authority.

 

This Council also notes its disappointment in the Government for abolishing the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

 

This Council asks that the Leader of the Council writes to Gloucestershire’s six MPs and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to urge them to re-evaluate Government policy over the proposed Community Support Payments for fracking.

 

Motion 783 – Open Contracting

Proposed by Cllr Sarah Lunnon

Seconded by Cllr Mike Sztymiak

 

That Gloucestershire County Council commits to the Open Contracting Global Principles and takes action to ensure that:

- By the end of 2017 complete information for all contracting processes over £1m, including details of the tender, award and contract process, the full text of contracts and amendments, and performance information, are proactively published;
- By the end of 2018 complete information is available for all contracting processes, over £500*, is proactively published

The presumption should be that the text of all contracts is open by default. Redactions should only be permitted: (a) at the explicit written request of the parties to the contract; (b) subject to the public interest tests of the Freedom of Information act; (c) with the minimum possible redactions; and (d) with full justifications for any redaction given.

Furthermore, to ensure public access to information on the operation of outsourced services, all future contracts of the Council should include a model clause providing full public access to performance reporting and other key information required to exercise effective scrutiny.

(*This should be set the same as the threshold in the local government transparency code)

Notes:
The Open Contracting Global Principles were developed through an extensive consultation process involving governments, private sector and civil society. The UK Government has endorsed the principles in it's 2013-15 and 2016-18 Open Government Partnership National Action Plans.

The Council is required by the provision of the Local Government Transparency Code to disclose a log of all contracts entered into. This motion builds upon that practice, adding a requirement for enhanced disclosure of contract text, performance information and information about the whole contracting process.

This motion is proposed on a basic understanding of fairness, that those paying the bill be allowed to see the itemised invoices, to understand exactly what they are buying. In terms of public interest it will also enable full scrutiny of how and what public money is being spent on and  ...  view the full agenda text for item 77.

Minutes:

Motion 782 - Community Support Payments (Fracking) in Gloucestershire

Cllr Barry Kirby and Cllr Graham Morgan, the proposer and seconder of the motion, accepted the changes highlighted below:

 

This Council notes that the Government have recently proposed a change to their ‘fracking’ policy to include a personal payment to households within the area of proposed ‘fracking’ sites.

 

This Council believes that this is fundamentally wrong, as it could lead to critical environmental decisions being taken away from communities as a whole. This Council reaffirms that the protection of Gloucestershire’s environment is a key priority for this authority.

 

This Council notes its disappointment in the Government for abolishing the Department for Energy and Climate Change. This Council also notes its disappointment that that previous recommendations made by Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee have not been supported by the administration. Therefore this Council requests that the Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure establishes a cross party advisory group to consider those aspects of the Local Minerals Plan that relate to ‘Fracking’. This would allow members to represent the concerns of local communities.

 

This Council asks that the Leader of the Council writes to Gloucestershire’s six MPs and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to urge them to re-evaluate Government policy over the proposed Community Support Payment for fracking.

 

This Council affirms its opposition in principle alone to any attempt to Frack in the Forest of Dean and other parts of the county.

 

In proposing the motion, Cllr Kirby noted that although the licence for the Forest of Dean had been returned by the applicant, there could be other applications for licences in the Forest of Dean and other parts of the county.  He stated that by offering community support payments the Prime Minister had in effect said that she did not trust Local Government to look after local communities.  With the current economic difficulties local people might be tempted to take the money to make ends meet. He was concerned at the disastrous impact on the environment when fracking went wrong as demonstrated by incidents in the USA.

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Morgan believed that fracking was fundamentally wrong with operations in one area potentially having an effect much further afield.  He referred to drilling in Preston, Lancashire resulting in seismic activity much further south in the country with an epicentre near Birmingham and tremors being felt in Gloucestershire.  He also expressed concern at the potential impact on water supplies in areas where fracking was taking place.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor, the Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure, stated that there were no licences in Gloucestershire and the geology of the county meant that the chances of fracking were very slim.  He believed that the motion was premature and he was concerned that speculating was causing unnecessary alarm amongst residents.

 

A member expressed concern at the potential safety aspects of fracking.  He said that the Government was in effect ‘bribing’ people with payments.  He  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Ambulance response times (motion 759) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

For debate and decision.

 

To consider the report from the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee in response to the motion agreed by Council  on 2 December 2015  relating to ambulance response times.  This item was deferred from the last meeting.

Minutes:

Cllr Roger Wilson presented the report from the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee in response to the motion agreed by Council on 2 December 2015  relating to ambulance response times.  This item had been deferred from the last meeting.  Cllr Wilson was the chairman of the working group that had looked at this issue.

 

He noted that the work had been undertaken on a cross-party basis and the working group included members from both county and district councils.  He thanked officers from the South Western Ambulance Service Trust, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service for participating in the review.  He made special mention of Andrea Clarke from Democratic Services for the support she had provided throughout the process.

 

Cllr Iain Dobie, Chairman of the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, stated that it was important to consider the report in the context of a national situation where no ambulance services across the country were meeting targets for response times.  He believed that the Government was starving funding to health and social care which was leading to a national crisis.  He noted that overall spending was going down in terms of the proportion of health spending to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Health expenditure was lower in the UK in comparison with most other countries.

 

A member believed that ambulance trusts throughout the country had become too large and bureaucratic.  He said that a Gloucestershire based service would allow better collaboration between the emergency services and be more accountable to the public.  He suggested that the County Council should put in a bid to run the ambulance service alongside Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. 

 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, the mover of the original motion in December 2015, thanked the members of the working group for undertaking the review.  He said that ambulance response times had a major impact on people’s lives and sometimes could literally be the difference between life and death.  He recognised that a Gloucestershire based service was not viable at present but circumstances might change to allow it to be looked at again in future.   

 

Cllr Tony Blackburn, the member for Hardwicke and Severn, raised concerns regarding response times for emergency services west of the Gloucester to Sharpness Canal.  He noted that new automated crossings had recently been installed and he asked that arrangements for responding to emergencies be checked and tested.

 

A member referred to the problems caused to the ambulance service by delays in handing over patients at accident and emergency departments.  Another member believed that an overhaul of the health service was urgently required to address reductions in funding and increasing demand.

 

Other members referred to the increases in Government funding for the NHS year on year and the opportunities for collaboration across the blue light services.  They believed that some of the current difficulties had arisen because some people did not understand how to use the NHS and were calling for ambulances and going to emergency departments unnecessarily.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.

79.

Member questions pdf icon PDF 180 KB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.

 

To answer any written member questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the County Council.

 

The closing date for receipt of questions is 10am on Wednesday, 30 November 2016. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email stephen.bace@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

 

Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.

Minutes:

Seventy questions had been received.  A copy of the answers was circulated and is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.

 

The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 1 – Cllr Jack Williams recognised the activities in place for vulnerable young people and asked what universal services were available.

 

Cllr Paul McLain explained that a detailed piece of work had been undertaken years before on positive activities for young people which suggested that over 85% of young people were engaged in activity not involving the Council. The priority was on supporting the most vulnerable. For those who did not fall into that category, broader services were in place including a £300,000 pot which was split across each district for them to allocate and the Children’s Activity Fund.

 

Question 2 – Cllr Jack Williams asked whether the funding for the Youth Activity Programmes would still be available at the same rate next year.

 

Cllr Paul McLain confirmed that it would be.

 

Question 3 – Cllr Jack Williams asked whether the Children’s Activity Fund would be available next year.

 

Cllr Paul McLain stated that that was the proposal.

 

Question 4 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked:

 

‘My constituent Sue Walters has a son with learning difficulties who receives 24 hour support from Gloucestershire County Council  Adult Services. She has drawn my attention to the human consequences of GCC cuts in this area in terms of diminished life chances. As she put it to me:


"I request that you bring to Council's attention the effect that this budget reduction is having on Gloucestershire's learning disabled adults and their families, whose quality of life and opportunity is deteriorating".


So, after two successive years of cuts to the County Council budget for vulnerable adults with learning difficulties, will you give an assurance there will be no further cuts to this budget in the next financial year?’

 

Cllr Kathy Williams stated that this budget was agreed at full Council and would be again. She emphasised the improvements within the service including making reductions through looking again at contracts and responding to areas where the Council was being overcharged. Kathy was happy to be contacted by Sue Walters to discuss her concerns.

 

Question 5 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked ‘At the last Council meeting I noted that at the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee the GP-led Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group reported that County Council cutbacks in support packages for vulnerable adults with learning difficulties would have health consequences. Do you agree with the health professionals on this point?’

 

Cllr Kathy Williams did not agree. She reiterated that real improvements had been made in the service with a large number of adults with learning disabilities working or at college for the first time.

 

Question 6  - Cllr Chris Coleman stated  a query to Government had ascertained that no specific requests had been made to Government on the highways maintenance budget. He stated that the Cabinet Member had said that he had lobbied; he asked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

Scrutiny Annual Report pdf icon PDF 530 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

In presenting the report, Cllr Brian Oosthuysen, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, thanked members and officers for their support.  He noted the breadth of the range of the topics that had been considered by the scrutiny committees during the year.

 

Cllr Oosthuysen and Cllr Shaun Parsons, Vice-chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, made special mention of the directors and the officers in Democratic Services in recognition of their support.

 

RESOLVED to note the 2015-16 Annual Scrutiny Report.

81.

Scrutiny update report - November 2016 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Cllr Brian Oosthuysen, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, presented the scrutiny update report for November 2016.

 

Cllr Lesley Williams requested a briefing for members on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Gloucestershire.  Cllr Roger Wilson, Vice-chairman of the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee suggested that this take the form of a member seminar.  He was anxious that it was not seen as an extra opportunity to scrutinise the proposals.

 

Cllr Tim Harman, Chairman of the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee, undertook to provide information after the meeting on when the Adoption SW arrangements would be considered by the committee.

 

Answering questions, Cllr Rob Bird, Chairman of the Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, stated that he was not aware of any work that had been taken so far to produce a non-parish version of the highway survey that included questions specifically relating to urban areas.  He said that it was unlikely that the committee work plan would allow any scrutiny work around pavements to begin in January.

 

RESOLVED to note the scrutiny update report.

 

82.

Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 115 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Robbins, Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee, presented the report.  He thanked members of the committee for their sharp-eyed vigilance. He noted that the external auditor had commended the Council for its financial governance and value for money.  He expressed concern regarding the significant rise in the number of Freedom of Information requests which had necessitated additional staff resources.

 

Responding to a request from Cllr Tracy Millard, Cllr Robbins undertook to provide the information on complaints that had been circulated to committee members.

 

RESOLVED to note the Annual Report for the Audit and Governance Committee.

83.

Appointment of Auditors pdf icon PDF 76 KB

For debate and decision.

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Robbins, Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee, presented the report and recommendation from the committee on the appointment of external auditors.

 

RESOLVED to accept the invitation from the Public Sector Audit Appointment (PSAA) to become a co-opted in authority for the purposes of the appointment of an external auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the requirements of the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015.

84.

Cabinet Decision Statement pdf icon PDF 121 KB

For Information and members’ questions.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Cabinet Decision Statement for the meeting held on 28 September 2016

85.

Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements pdf icon PDF 49 KB

For information and members’ questions.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Statement of Individual Cabinet Member Decisions.

86.

Constitution Committee report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

For debate and decision.

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the Constitution Committee, presented the recommendations from the meeting held on 10 October 2016.

 

a)    Members’ allowances

RESOLVED that the revisions to the Members’ Allowances Scheme in Annex A to the report be adopted and included in the Council’s constitution.

 

b)   Health and Well Being Board

RESOLVED that the revisions to the terms of reference for the Health and Wellbeing Board in Annex C to the report be adopted and included in the Council’s Constitution.

 

c)    Monitoring Officer changes to the Constitution

RESOLVED to ratify the changes to the Council’s Constitution, as shown in Annex D and Annex C to the report under delegated powers.

87.

Highways performance report pdf icon PDF 162 KB

For information and members’ questions.

 

To note that senior highways officers from Amey, the Council’s highways contractor, will be available immediately following the meeting to answer questions.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Vernon Smith, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, presented the report. He said that he was pleased that performance targets were being met and in some instances exceeded. 

 

Responding to questions, he reminded members to report potholes and any other road defects on the Council’s dedicated website – www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/reportit.  He said that he had become aware of issues around white line markings at junctions and officers would be presenting a report at a future meeting of the Highways Advisory Group.  Referring to the installation of a power cable through the High Street in Stonehouse, he believed that steps were being taken to find an alternative route.

 

A member expressed concern that residents had not been informed when a road had been closed in Cirencester and this had caused particular difficulties.

 

The Vice-chairman noted that there appeared to have been a significant increase in the number of emergency road closures across the county.  He enquired how much this was costing?

 

A member commended the Council’s highways contractor on how well road closures were now working with good communication with residents.  He referred particularly to recent road closures in the Berkeley area. 

 

Another member commented on how well the work was progressing at Elmbridge Court.  He said that traffic was flowing well and there was good communication with road users. Cllr Vernon Smith thanked the project manager, Scott Macaulay-Lowe, and the Communications Team for their efforts.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

88.

Gloucestershire Local Government Pension Fund Annual Report 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 44 KB

For debate and decision.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Chairman of the Pensions Committee, presented the annual report.  He thanked the members of the committee and he said that he was pleased that a staff representative was now regularly attending meetings.  He also thanked the recently formed Pension Board for its scrutiny activity.  He reassured councillors that the new pooling arrangements would not have any impact on the benefits received by members of the pension scheme. 

 

Answering questions about performance of the fund, he said that it was unsurprising that there were variations in performance between individual pension funds but he noted that the differences were relatively small.  The Gloucestershire scheme had been amongst the top 10 performers in the previous year.  The tri-annual review had just been undertaken and the deficit on the fund had improved and was now closer to 20%.

 

RESOLVED to approve the Gloucestershire Local Government Pension Fund Annual Report for 2015-16 be approved.

89.

Brunel Pension Partnership pdf icon PDF 83 KB

For debate and decision.  To consider the recommendation from the Pension Committee to be held on 2 December 2016. 

 

Exclusion of the press and the public

Please note that if any exempt matters are raised during the debate (for example relating to the detailed business case and risk register), the following motion to exclude the press and public will need to be moved and seconded:

 

In accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following agenda items, because it is likely that if members of the public were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 and 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

Minutes:

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Chairman of the Pensions Committee, presented the report and the recommendations from the meeting of the committee held on 2 December 2016.  He explained that the Government believed that investment costs could be reduced by bringing local government pension funds together.    The Pensions Committee had approved the business case for pooling funds and it was intended that the Brunel Pension Partnership would become operational in March 2018.  The partnership would bring 10 pension funds together but each local authority would still have responsibility for the strategic allocation of funding. 

 

It was noted that the whole process was under Government guidance and if the Council did not join the Brunel Pension Partnership, the Government would direct the Council towards joining another pool.  The advantage of joining the Brunel Pension Partnership was that the Council was able to influence how it was set up and managed.

 

Answering questions, Cllr Theodoulou explained that the Brunel Pension Partnership was expected to have 22 individual investment funds.  There would be opportunities to invest in ethical funds if the Pensions Committee believed that to be the right approach. He said that he did not expect to see an increase in investment charges as a result of pooling and early indications were that firms would be reducing their fees.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor, a member of the Pensions Board, thanked Cllr Theodoulou and the officers who had been closely involved in the process.  He said that he was confident that Gloucestershire was in a good position to influence how the Brunel Pension Partnership was set up. 

 

Members of the Pensions Committee thanked officers for all the work they had undertaken over recent months.  They noted that the Gloucestershire Pension Fund was well managed and paid significantly less in fees compared to other local authority pension funds.  The Gloucestershire fund, however, had to join a pool along with other pension funds.  They believed that joining the Brunel Pension Partnership was the best option on the table as the Council had an early opportunity to influence how it was managed. They noted that pensions’ administration would continue to be run from Shire Hall.  Allocation of funds remained of critical importance with just a 1% difference in performance each year equivalent to £20 million.

 

Some members were concerned that the reduction in the number of funds might result in a lack of competition and higher costs in future. 

 

Five members abstained from the vote.

 

RESOLVED that

a)    The Brunel Pension Partnership investment pool be developed, funded and implemented substantially in accordance with the terms and provisions described in the said business case, and more particularly that:  

o   An FCA regulated company to be named Brunel Pension Partnership Limited be established and operated with all necessary and appropriate arrangements as to its ownership, structure, governance and services capability.

o   A new supervisory body comprising representatives of the Council and all other participants in the Brunel Pension Partnership be established to ensure oversight of the Council’s investment and participation in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 89.