Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: https://youtu.be/suYMzC_qoB0

Contact: Gregory Moore
tel. no.: 020 7332 1399  Email: gregory.moore@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received by the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman William Russell.

 

The Policy Chair welcomed the Chief Commoner to his first meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

Members Declarations Under the Code of Conduct in Respect of Items on the Agenda

Minutes:

There were no declarations.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To agree the public minutes of the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 19 March 2020.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 3.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

 

Matters arising

Standards Costs: A Member advised the Committee that she had received an answer from the Comptroller to the question she had raised at the 19 March meeting, concerning expenditure related to the activities of the Standards Committee. It was agreed that this information could be circulated to Members of the Committee and published on the website for transparency purposes.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

COVID Response

Oral update on the latest position.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 4.

Minutes:

Members heard an update from the Town Clerk & Chief Executive and the Assistant Town Clerk & Gold Command, Peter Lisley, relating to the COVID response both at pan-London level and from the City of London Corporation.

 

The Town Clerk gave an update on the work of the Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) and informed Members that, as of Monday week, a number of staff would be returning from their secondments back to Guildhall, including the Director of Communications. The Town Clerk also committed to be back for the next meeting of the Court of Common Council.

 

The Assistant Town Clerk & Gold Command then gave an update on the City Corporation’s response to COVID-19:

·           He reported that provision of public services was stable.

·           Open Spaces were expecting a busy bank holiday weekend ahead.

·           It was important to avoid burnout and he had encouraged staff to take a break over the weekend.

·           Testing was now available to all staff through a self-book portal or via HR but sickness levels were low, including anxiety and stress.

·           There had been no community deaths (excluding deaths at St Bartholomew’s Hospital).

·           Chief Officers were now looking at a phased return to normal activity, both in a London context and for our own staff, particularly looking at transport and the importance of this for City businesses.

·           It was expected that the Government announcement on Sunday would confirm that staff should continue to work from home where possible.

·           Sadly, one loss of life due to COVID-19 had been experienced within the City of London Police and one member of City Corporation staff remained seriously ill.

 

Members expressed gratitude to officers and volunteers for their work during these unprecedented times. It was suggested that it would be important to take an overall strategic view whilst working on the plans for the

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

COVID-19 Implications - possible postponement of the City-Wide elections in March 2021 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 5.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk outlining options around the possible postponement of the City-wide elections in March 2021.

 

The Chair highlighted that, notwithstanding the fact that this report was being presented for decision now, given the importance of the issue it was felt that it might be premature to make a decision at this juncture and before clarity was available in respect of any prospective easing of restrictions on movement. Members agreed that a final decision on a date for the election should be deferred until a later meeting. However, the Committee expressed the strong view that the election should not take place on the same date as the Greater London Authority (GLA) elections.

 

A Member also suggested that the elections be deferred for a full year and for new electors to then be elected on a three-year term.

 

It was suggested that there should be cognisance of the likely reduction in office occupancy levels extending for a protracted period, possibly until the time when a vaccine was in place, with the consequential effect on the electorate and canvassing activity borne in mind. It was also suggested that now could be an opportune time to look at exploring electronic voting and potentially leading the way in this regard. 

 

RESOLVED: That:-

1.      Consideration of the timing of the 2021 City elections be deferred until a future meeting.

2.      It be agreed that the City elections should be held on a separate date to the London Mayor and GLA elections.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Remote Meetings Protocol and Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 6.

Minutes:

The Committee discussed a report relating to protocols and procedures associated with the management of remote meetings.

 

Members heard how officers were also looking at alternative technologies, such as Zoom, as well as exploring the full functionality of Microsoft Teams.

 

The Town Clerk also took the opportunity to update Members on progress in respect of arrangements for a virtual meeting of the Court of Common Council on 21 May. Whilst there were a minor number of technical considerations awaiting final testing, there was confidence that the Court should be able to convene and meet effectively, provided that the same discipline was applied with respect to the rules around the conduct of debate as proscribed by standing orders for physical meetings. It was highlighted that the key issue would be in relation to voting where the limitations of applications tested to-date presented some minor issues, particularly in relation to ballots where multiple votes would need to be cast, as well as the secrecy of such ballots.

 

Members echoed the Chair’s thanks to officers for the hard work that had been undertaken to make arrangements for remote meetings.

 

A number of Members indicated their preference for Zoom to be looked at as a technological solution for the longer-term, rather than Microsoft Teams.

 

A Member also highlighted some issues that were experienced with the chat function and the etiquette for using this. Whilst it was inarguably convenient and helpful for Members to use the function to share sentiment or opinions on an item amongst themselves, he observed that it was sometimes extremely difficult to chair a meeting whilst following a substantive debate in the chat function and also noting who wished to speak on an item, particularly where large numbers of people were participating in the meeting. He supported officers’ advice in this

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Nominations to London Councils pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 7.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk concerning nominations to London Councils. 

 

With reference to the Lead Member appointment for Arts/Culture, Tourism, Sport and Leisure, it was observed that engagement by and with the various Open Spaces Committee Chairs had been extremely helpful in the recent period and it was asked whether this extended consultation could be continued. Officers suggested that they expected London Councils would welcome the suggestion and undertook to seek to facilitate this accordingly.

 

RESOLVED: That the overriding principle of nominating the Chairman for the time being of the most relevant Committee to serve on London Councils committees be endorsed and the following individuals be nominated to act as lead Member for particular areas of work as follows:-

·         Leaders’ Committee - Chair of the Policy & Resources Committee with a Deputy/Vice Chair as named deputy.

·         Transport and Environment Committee – Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee, with the Chairman of Port Health and Environment Committee and the Deputy Chairmen of both these committees serving as the named deputies.

·         Grants Committee - Chairman of the City Bridge Trust Committee, with the Deputy Chairman as named deputy.

·         Greater London Employment Forum – Chair of the Establishment Committee.

·         Lead Member for Children and Young People - Chairman of the Community & Children’s Services Committee.

·         Lead Member for Skills and Employment – Chair of the Policy & Resources Committee.

·         Lead Member for Economic Development/Business – Chair of Policy & Resources Committee.

·         Lead Member for Crime and Public Protection - Chairman of the Police Authority Board.

·         Lead Member for Arts/Culture, Tourism, Sport and Leisure – Chair of the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, with the Chairs of the three Open Spaces Committees also included within consultation arrangements.

·         Lead Member for Housing & Regeneration - Chairman of the Community & Children’s Services Committee.

·         Lead Member

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

City of London Local Plan Review: Proposed Publication of the City Plan 2036 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Report of the Director of the Built Environment.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 8.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Built Environment reviewing the City Corporation’s Local Plan. The Chair of Planning & Transportation introduced the item and commended the report.

 

In response to a query concerning the consultation process, it was advised that the hope was that the process would be straightforward and the Plan could be submitted to the Secretary of State accordingly. However, the report would return for committee approval in the event of any substantive or significant feedback emerging.

 

RESOLVED: That:

1.      The proposed City Plan 2036 set out at Appendix 1 of the report be published for consultation.

2.      The Director of Built Environment be authorised to make further non-material amendments and editorial changes prior to public consultation and submission to the Secretary of State.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Capital Funding Update pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Report of the Chamberlain.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 9.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Chamberlain proposing the release of up to a further £281.2k to allow two schemes to progress to the next gateway (detailed options appraisal):

i.              Guildhall Complex Chiller Plant Replacement – up to £174.2k (including risk allowance)

ii.             Guildhall Steam Plant Replacement – up to £107k (including risk allowance).

 

The Chair of the Projects Sub Committee raised some concerns on the Chiller Plant Replacement project and expanding the options appraisal. He felt that the project had a capital of £3m and the project should be managed on that basis. The City Surveyor committed to looking at this in more detail.

 

RESOLVED, that:

·         The allocation of central funding of up to £281.2k to allow 2 schemes be progressed to the next gateway:

o   Guildhall Complex Chiller Plant replacement £174.2

o   Guildhall Steam Plant Replacement £107k

·         It be noted that work is underway to identify priority schemes to be progressed during the current crisis to ensure that funding for only the most essential schemes is committed for the time being.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

QUESTIONS ON MATTERS RELATING TO THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE

Minutes:

There were two questions:

 

Government Grants to Small Businesses

A Member made reference to recently revised rules concerning the payment of COVID-related grants from Government, which were being allocated through local councils. In particular, clarity was sought around capacity to make payments to small companies.

 

The Chamberlain advised that these rules had changed in only the past few days and that further guidance from Government was awaited. However, it was currently anticipated that the available pot of money for City businesses would be insufficient to provide meaningful relief for all now eligible. Efforts were underway to make the case with Government in respect of additional resources to support such businesses.</AI10><AI11>

 

COVID-19 Contingency Fund

In response to a query concerning expenditure from this Fund, it was clarified that this would be reported on as part of the regular report on expenditure and commitments from the various Funds under the Committee’s control.

 

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS THAT THE CHAIRMAN CONSIDERS URGENT

Minutes:

Member Consultation

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk concerning the matter of Member consultation and engagement.

 

Some concerns regarding the interim arrangements that had been in place during the immediate COVID response were noted.  It was hoped that the proposed thematic groups would provide a mechanism for Members to advise on emerging issues or give a steer at an early stage on reports that could then be developed for consideration at Committee. It was recognised that the any such system would have limitations and it was not always possible or practical to canvas the views of 125 Members on all items. However, the Chair was keen to ensure that a practical method of facilitating a wider range of input on policy matters was in place.

 

It was also agreed that the proposed informal fortnightly Resource Allocation Sub-Committee meetings should have a formal component too, in order to facilitate any urgent decisions being made in a more transparent fashion.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted and the proposed arrangements agreed.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

11a

Member Consultation pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 11a

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Member Consultation

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk concerning the matter of Member consultation and engagement.

 

Some concerns regarding the interim arrangements that had been in place during the immediate COVID response were noted.  It was hoped that the proposed thematic groups would provide a mechanism for Members to advise on emerging issues or give a steer at an early stage on reports that could then be developed for consideration at Committee. It was recognised that the any such system would have limitations and it was not always possible or practical to canvas the views of 125 Members on all items. However, the Chair was keen to ensure that a practical method of facilitating a wider range of input on policy matters was in place.

 

It was also agreed that the proposed informal fortnightly Resource Allocation Sub-Committee meetings should have a formal component too, in order to facilitate any urgent decisions being made in a more transparent fashion.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted and the proposed arrangements agreed.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 11a

12.

Exclusion of the Public

MOTION - That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I of the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 12.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Non-Public Minutes

To agree the non-public minutes of the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 19 March 2020.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 13.

Minutes:

The non-public minutes of the Policy & Resources Committee meeting held on 19 March 2020 were approved.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Islington Arts Factory

Report of the Director of Community & Children’s Services.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 14.

Minutes:

Members considered and approved a report of the Director of Community & Children’s Services relative to the Holloway Estate Islington Arts Factory.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

QUESTIONS ON MATTERS RELATING TO THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE

Minutes:

There was one question, concerning matters in relation to the relaxation of COVID-related movement restrictions.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS THAT THE CHAIRMAN CONSIDERS URGENT AND WHICH THE COMMITTEE AGREE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WHILST THE PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED.

Minutes:

There was one item of urgent business, concerning Innovate Finance.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Confidential Minutes

To agree the confidential minute of the meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee held on 19 March 2020.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 17.

Minutes:

The confidential minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 March 2020 were approved.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.