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Decisions published

23/02/2021 - The Council’s Financial Position as at 31 December 2020 ref: 3472    Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 23/02/2021 - Cabinet

Decision published: 24/02/2021

Effective from: 23/02/2021


Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Growth, presented the report which outlined the forecast financial position of the council at the end of 2020/21 based on the information known at the end of the third quarter, 31 December 2020. An underspend of £53,000 was forecast, which was in line with assumptions to break even for this year’s budget and the challenges expected in future years.


In response to a Member’s question about value for money regarding a consultant hired from Covid monies, the Leader advised that there were a range of functions to scrutinise spending both at an officer and Member level. This post was created to address the impact of Covid on the elections and the democratic process in general. In response to a follow up question, the Leader clarified that opposition Councillors could disagree with the spend itself but that personal attacks on an officer were inappropriate, a sentiment echoed by other Cabinet Members.



·       To note the forecast underspend of £0.053m on the revenue budget;

·       To note the significant uncertainties that exist, in particular Covid, and that there is likely to be further changes before the end of the financial year;

·       To note the position on the Dedicated Schools Grant, Collection Fund and the Housing Revenue Account and the Council’s participation in the DfE’s Safety Valve project;

·       To note forecast position on the capital programme;

·       To note the Council’s application for de-carbonising the estate grant and approve that acceptance of the grant delegated to the Executive Director of Operations and the Council’s S151 Officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Growth;

·       To give delegated approval to the Executive Director of Operations and the Council’s S151 Officer in Consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and the Cabinet Member for Corporate Affairs and HR to award contracts associated with the decarbonisation fund, subject to the appropriate procurement contract procedure rules being followed;

·       Approve the revised rephasing of the capital programme as set out in the report.

·       Approve the addition of £0.367m to the capital programme for the previously agreed contribution to the coroner’s service to give a final capital programme of £57.201m for 2020/21.


Reasons for the decision:

To ensure the Council’s budgetary targets are achieved.


Other options considered and rejected:


Lead officer: Lisa Kitto

05/02/2021 - Implementation of 300% Council Tax levy for long term empty properties ref: 3471    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Director of Operations

Decision published: 22/02/2021

Effective from: 05/02/2021


An additional amount of Council Tax (a Premium) is charged when a property has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, regardless of any change in ownership. Up to 31st March 2019 the Premium charge was an additional 50% to the full Council Tax charge (150% payable).

Lead officer: Lisa Kitto

02/02/2021 - Business case and options appraisal for the purchase of new Horticultural and Grounds Maintenance plant and machinery ref: 3470    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Director of Operations

Decision published: 22/02/2021

Effective from: 02/02/2021


Following an evaluation of the options in relation to the purchase of replacement horticultural grounds maintenance equipment, it is recommended that this new equipment will be procured using an OJEU compliant framework the TPPL (The Procurement Partnership Ltd).

Lead officer: Donna Ball


Decision Maker: Standards Assessment Sub Committee

Made at meeting: 11/02/2021 - Standards Assessment Sub Committee

Decision published: 11/02/2021

Effective from: 11/02/2021


Standards sub-committee


Decision notice


Reference: SC 01/21


Parties receiving this Decision Notice should take care when acting on this information, as some of it may be confidential for the purposes of these proceedings and must not be released without first discussing the same with the Monitoring Officer.


Outline of Complaint:


On 3 August 2020 the Monitoring Officer received a complaint from Mrs Jayne Hammond concerning remarks made about her by Councillor Robert Caserta at the Council meeting held on the 8 July 2020.  This complaint was considered in the first instance by the Council’s Monitoring Officer and the Independent Person and following an investigation undertaken by an Independent Investigating Officer and the failure of local resolution, a standards sub-committee (Hearings Panel) was convened.  The Standards Sub Committee met to consider the complaint and took representations from interested parties on the 11th and 18th February 2021.





The sub-committee found three breaches of the Code of Conduct for Councillors and Other Voting Representatives (the Code), one breach was not found and it further found three breaches of the Protocol on Member Officer and Relations (the Protocol). In determining which sanction to impose, Members of the sub-committee considered that the action must be proportionate to the breach.


The sub-committee therefore resolved that:


  1. Councillor Robert Caserta issues an unequivocal apology to Mrs. Jayne Hammond

2.   The Council’s Interim Monitoring Officer is instructed to arrange training for Councillor Robert Caserta in respect of the Code and the Protocol

3.   A decision notice be published on the Council’s website.



Reasons for the Decision:-


The Sub-Committee considered the Code and the Protocol as well as the relevant legislation


  • Section 27 (2) of the Localism Act 2011 places a duty on relevant authorities to ensure their members and co-opted members maintain high standards of conduct and requires such authorities to adopt a code of conduct for their members.
  • Section 28 (2) requires a relevant authority to adopt a code whose contents must be consistent with the seven “Nolan” principles of standards in public life (Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honest and leadership).



Breaches of the Code identified:


The Code of Conduct


Preamble paragraph 2.8. - Respect for Others:

“Members should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. They should respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority’s statutory Officers, and its other employees”


Reason –

There was no evidence before the panel that the cost of the Bourne and Newsam reports were attributable to the complainant and by making that suggestion the subject member failed to respect the integrity of an Officer. Whilst a councillor must be free to raise issues and level valid criticism, the subject member went about this in the wrong way by making it personal to the complainant.


Unanimous decision


General provisions paragraph 3.1. (e)  You must not...

“Behave in a way that a reasonable person would regard as disrespectful”


Reason –

The subject member was disrespectful about the complainant. The Code of Conduct must be interpreted purposively. To allow an employee to be treated such upon departure would undermine the aims of the Code.


Majority decision


General provisions paragraph 5.

“You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the Council into disrepute”


Reason –

The subject member’s remarks implicitly suggested wrong-doing by the council and officer. The panel was of the view that the words spoken by the subject member, acting in his role as councillor and at a council meeting, would bring the council into disrepute.


Unanimous decision.


Member Officer Protocol


Preamble 1.1. Mutual respect:

Mutual trust and respect between Member and Officer”


Reason –

The panel concluded, by majority, that the subject member’s conduct was damaging to good governance and the effective running of the local authority.


Majority decision.


Principles 3.1: Observe the Protocol

“Members and Officers must at all times observe this protocol”


Reason -

On the subject member’s own admission, he had not read the Code or Protocol and, by majority, the panel concluded that his conduct showed a disregard for the Code and the Protocol.


Majority decision.


Principles 19.3.

“A Member who is unhappy about the actions taken by, or conduct, of an officer should:

?     Avoid personal attacks on, or abuse of, the officer at all times

?     Ensure that any criticism is well founded and constructive

?     Never make a criticism in public and

?     Take up the concern with the officer privately”


Reason -

The majority of the panel were satisfied that the subject member had made a personal attack on the complainant, referring to her by name, that his remarks were not constructive and that the criticism was made in public at a Council meeting. Whilst the subject member had stated that he had made a number of attempts to contact the complainant by email and received no response, the panel noted that there had been two years in which to arrange contact with the complainant in order to discuss his concerns in private.


Majority decision.



The Panel found no breach in relation to:


General provisions paragraph 4. (a): You must not..

“Disclose information given to you in confidence by anyone, or information acquired by you which you believe, or ought reasonably to be aware, is of a confidential nature


The panel was not satisfied that there had been confidential information within the subject member’s remarks, bearing in mind that the cost of the Bourne and Newsam reports was in the public domain.M Hayes

Chair of the Standards Sub-Committee

Date: 18 February 2021



09/02/2021 - Safer Streets Save Lives (SSSL) scheme - B6214 Lumb Carr Road & Helmshore Road, Holcombe. ref: 3468    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Director of Operations

Decision published: 10/02/2021

Effective from: 09/02/2021


Subsequent to TMU approval in May 2019 as an AOB item, to approve for implementation a ‘Safer Streets Save Lives’ (SSSL) scheme on the B6214 Lumb Carr Road / Helmshore Road through Holcombe Village.

Lead officer: David Giblin