Venue: Repton Room - Follaton House
Contact: Email: Democratic.Services@swdevon.gov.uk
brought forward at the discretion of the Chairman;
The Chairman advised that she had no items of urgent business for consideration at this meeting.
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;
Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of this meeting and these were recorded as follows:
Cllr N A Hopwood declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in agenda item 4(b): ‘Garden Waste Collections: (b) One-Off Emptying of Garden Waste Bins in Woolwell’ (Minute E.60/21(b) below refers) by virtue of her direct involvement in the matter and left the meeting during consideration of this aspect of the agenda item.
Statement from the Monitoring Officer
At the invitation of the Leader, the Monitoring Officer was invited to provide a statement to provide an explanation for the calling of this Special Executive meeting.
In so doing, the Monitoring Officer advised that:
- The Leader of the Council had the power to call a meeting of the Executive at any time (s)he so wished and it was his understanding that the main reasons for the Leader wishing to call this meeting were that:
o There was a need for a response to be made by the Executive to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s concerns that were raised during consideration of the call-in of the Executive decision to extend the suspension of the Garden Waste Collection service at its meeting held on 5 November 2021. This was particularly pertinent given that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had referred its concerns direct to the Full Council meeting to be held on 25 November 2021;
o There was an informal Executive Briefing already in the diary for this date and time, so there was an administrative convenience; and
o The nature of the business to be transacted was such that no prejudice was caused to members of the public by virtue of the shorter notice; and
- Whilst ordinarily, notice of the meeting must be published on the Council website at least five clear working days before the meeting was held, they were able to be convened on shorter notice (for example in the case of an Emergency or Urgency).
In conclusion, the Monitoring Officer confirmed that he was content that the calling of this Special Executive meeting did not give rise to a breach of the provisions of The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
Before consideration of a report that:
- enabled the Executive to formally consider the concerns that had been raised by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting held on 5 November 2021 on the call-in of the Executive decision to extend the suspension of the Garden Waste Collection service; and
- made reference to the one-off emptying of the garden waste bins in Woolwell.
the Chief Executive was invited to provide a statement to the Meeting. In so doing, the Chief Executive stated that:
‘On learning of Cllr Hopwood’s action in arranging for a private contractor to make a one-off collection of garden waste within her Ward, as Head of Paid Service, I asked the Monitoring Officer to speak with Cllr Hopwood. The Monitoring Officer has done so. The Monitoring Officer has explained clearly to Cllr Hopwood, that no matter how well intentioned her actions were, she acted contrary to the decision of the Executive. Consequently, she was likely to have brought the Council into disrepute and failed to act in accordance with the Council’s requirements as to the use of her Localities’ funds, both serious breaches of the Code of Conduct and of the standards of behaviour expected of councillors.
I understand that Cllr Hopwood has agreed with the Monitoring Officer to give a public apology.’
At this point, Cllr Hopwood was invited to address the Meeting and stated that:
Members and officers may be aware that I organised a collection of brown bins within the Woolwell Ward which I represent.
I sought officer advice about paying for this to be done out of my locality budget after misunderstanding the advice given and went ahead with what I had organised in all good faith. I have since been contacted by the Monitoring Officer and subsequently met with him, (Mr Fairbairn) who advises that not only was the organising of waste collections within my ward against what the Executive had agreed, which was to suspend the garden waste service but I informed residents that this would be paid for out of my locality budget as I genuinely misunderstood the advice given by officers.
I offer an unreserved apology to both officers and Members and have assured the monitoring officer that this will not happen again.’
The Monitoring Officer proceeded to confirm that, having spoken with Cllr Hopwood and, given the full and public apology, Cllr Hopwood was aware of her wrongdoing and that it would not be repeated.
(Having declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (Minute E.58/21 above refers), Cllr Hopwood then left the meeting room).
Consideration was then given to the report.
(a) The Overview and Scrutiny Committee Concerns
The lead Executive Member made reference to each of the concerns raised by the Committee and provided the following additional comments:
Overview and Scrutiny Concern 1:
There was insufficient consideration and/or reporting given to the implementation of Option 3 being the use of an alternative provider and in particular the possibility of the garden waste collection being ... view the full minutes text for item E.60/21