Agenda and minutes

County Council - Thursday 8th February 2024 10:00am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Mike Bradbury  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:


There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.


Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 14 December 2023 pdf icon PDF 198 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 14 December 2023 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Chairman's Correspondence

The Chairman will mention a range of recent items of news which may be of interest to Members

Additional documents:


His Majesty King Charles III 


On behalf of the Council and the residents of Staffordshire, the Chairman extended best wishes for a speedy recovery to His Majesty following the announcement earlier this week that he has been diagnosed with cancer.  


Staffordshire residents recognised in His Majesty The King’s New Year’s Honours  


The Chairman extended his congratulations to the following Staffordshire residents who had received honours in His Majesty The King’s New Year’s Honours:  


Officers of the Order of the British Empire OBE  


·       Mr Kenneth Paul Newton, Stafford, services to Public Service  


·       Professor David Foskett, Burton-on-Trent, services to Hospitality Industry and Inclusivity  


Members of the Order of the British Empire MBE  


·       Mrs Jacqueline Mary Gange, Cannock, services to Community in Cannock  


·       Mr Rowan Edwin Crozier, Lichfield, services to Manufacturing and Enterprise  


·       Mrs Jill Alcock (Clewes), Staffordshire Moorlands, services to The Arts and Charity  


·       Professor Miriam Bernard, Newcastle-under-Lyme, services to Ageing Research and to Older People  


·       Dr Catherine Emma Baxter, services to Higher Education  


Medallists of the Order of the British Empire BEM  


·       Mr Martin Peter Wild, Barton under Needwood, services to Community in Tamworth  


·       Mr Herbert Proctor, Stoke-on-Trent, services to Community in Audley  


·       Mr Stephen Roger Lees JP, South Staffordshire, services to Community in Himley, Swindon and South Staffordshire  


·       Mrs Elaine Hutchings, Lichfield, services to Community in Lichfield during Covid-19  


·       Mr Peter Stewart Clemson, Burton-on-Trent, services to Performing Arts and the Community in Burton 


Recognising Our Unsung Heroes  


The Chairman informed the Council of the introduction of his “Unsung Heroes” initiative to recognise the contributions made by volunteers across Staffordshire The first of these events took place on 15 December and included representatives from eight voluntary groups from the Cannock and Lichfield areas, all of whom had been nominated by local Members The next Unsung Heroes event is to be held on Friday, 19 April to which local voluntary groups from Stafford and South Staffordshire are to be invited. Over the next 12 months it is proposed to hold a further two events covering the Newcastle, Staffordshire Moorlands, East Staffordshire and Tamworth districts/boroughs.  


Gift from former Chief Executive, John Henderson CB  


On behalf of Members, the Chairman extended the Council’s thanks to its former Chief Executive, John HendersonCB, for his generous gift to the Council of a framed Staffordshire County Council Coat of Arms painted on Vellum by Frau Doktor Marianne Voss Mr Henderson’s gift is now hanging on the wall at the top of the main staircase in County Buildings. Upon retirement from Staffordshire County Council, John Henderson received a gift from Members and Officers of the Council of a bespoke Stafford Knot cast in bronze and plated in silver. 


Former County Councillor David Nixon  


The Chairman informed Members of the recent death of Former County Councillor David Nixon.  


Mr Nixon was first elected to the County Council in 2001 representing the Thistleberry Electoral Division (Newcastle) until 2005. He served on the former Social Care Scrutiny Committee and was also a member of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024-29 and 2024/25 Budget and Council Tax pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Joint report of the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources outlining how the Council will finance its operations over the next five years and recommending a budget to the Council for 2024/25.


NOTE: Members are reminded that, under Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, if they are two months or more in arrears with their Council Tax it is an offence for them to vote on the budget. Members are also required to disclose at the meeting the fact that this Section applies to them.

Additional documents:


The Council received a joint report by the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources on the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 20024/29 and 2024/25 Budget and Council Tax proposals. 


Cllr Ian Parry moved, and Cllr Alan White seconded, the recommendations contained in the report before the Council. 


In presenting the report, Councillor Parry informed Members that, despite the well-documented financial challenges facing local authorities, thanks to long-term planning, imaginative change, and careful management of its resources, the Council remained financially stable.  It was that stability which enabled the authority to meet its statutory responsibilities and also to look to the future by investing in the County’s economy, infrastructure and communities. 


Councillor Parry indicated that, in line with most other local authorities, the County Council was requested to approve a 4.99 per cent council tax increase for 2024/25, comprising 2.99 per cent for general purposes and 2 per cent ringfenced for social care. This meant that the increase for a Band D property would be £73.41 per annum. 


Councillor Parry also extended his thanks to the Council’s Director of Finance and his team, his fellow Cabinet Members, the Council’s Senior Leadership Team and the Members of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the MTFS Working Group for their support in compiling the MTFS and Budget proposals. 


Councillor Charlotte Atkins, together with Councillor Yates, also extended their congratulations to the Council’s Finance Team in achieving a balanced budget whilst facing huge financial challenges; but added that it was not sustainable, in the long term, to continue to use reserves to fund gaps.  They added that the pressure from social care, both for adults and children, and also from special educational needs and disabilities, could not be discounted.  They, together with Councillor Hussain, also referred to the need for the central government to find a long term solution to the funding for social care and the dedicated schools grant and added that it was estimated that one in five local authorities would submit a Section 114 notice either this year or next unless these issues were addressed.  


Councillor Sutton referred to the Council’s funding for children and family services which stood at £194m for 2024/25. 


Councillor Yates also referred to the financial impacts of climate change and the need for more funding to be allocated to the Divisional Highways programme Budget.  Councillor Yates moved, and Councillor Charlotte Atkins seconded, the following amendment by way of an additional recommendation: 


“That the Council redistributes any Council Tax levy (e.g. empty houses premium, second homes premium) imposed within their district or borough proportionately to their Members (of the District or Borough raising the levy) as an enhancement to each of those Members’ Divisional Highways Programme budget.” 


On consideration of the amendment, the Council’s Monitoring Officer, after consulting the Director of Finance, declared that the amendment was invalid as it did not fall within the remit of the County Council. 


The Council then debated the substantive recommendations as contained in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 90 KB

The Leader will inform the Council about his work and his plans for the Council, and will give an overview of decisions taken by the Cabinet (and Portfolio Holders) since the previous meeting of the Council

Additional documents:


The Leader of the Council presented a Statement outlining his recent work since the previous meeting of the Council.?? 


In moving consideration of the Statement, Councillor Alan White updated the Council on the following matter: 


Electoral Review of Staffordshire County Council: Further Limited Draft Recommendations  


The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has opened an additional public consultation in its review of Staffordshire County Council’s electoral division boundaries. The Commission is now undertaking a further limited consultation on proposals for Lichfield District. The Commission is satisfied with the evidence received for the rest of the County and is therefore not seeking further opinions and comments (submissions) on areas other than Lichfield District.  


The Commission would welcome submissions on the further draft recommendations by 12 March 2024. Their final recommendations for the whole of the council area will now be published on 14 May 2024.  


As the deadline for the consultation falls before the date of the next Council meeting (14th March), it was recommended that the Director for Corporate Services, in consultation with the County Councillors from Lichfield (as a collective) are given delegated authority to respond to the consultation on behalf of SCC.  


Older People Adult Social Care Commissioning Strategy 2024-2029 

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)? 


Councillor Charlotte Atkins enquired as to how the Council intended to attract sufficient care staff in order tofulfil the aims of the Strategy without increasing rates of pay She also referred to the Council’s proposals to develop two new care homes in the south of the County and enquired whether there were any proposals for new care homes in the north of the County.  In response, Councillor Jessel indicated that the Council was working with care providers which had led to significant improvements in the market She also explained how the Council was working hard to improve the status of the care industry in order to attract more people into the sector.  With regard to the provision of care/nursing homes, Councillor Jessel indicated that a business case was being prepared and, in due course, would be submitted to Cabinet for consideration. 


Staffordshire Means Back to Business 

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)? 


Councillor Flunder referred to the success of the recent Tourism and Hospitality Conference held at Alton Towers which had attracted over 100 businesses. 


Councillor Yates spoke about the need for more business units for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). 


Councillor Philip Atkins referred to theclaimant count rate in Staffordshire which continued to be one of the lowest in the West Midlands and was far lower than the average for the region; and that over the last year, the average earnings of the County’s residents had increased by over 12% compared to just 5% across the West Midlands Region and England as a whole.   


Councillor Smith informed the Council that Lichfield District Council had recently granted planning consent for 30EV charging points and 30  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Questions pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Questions to be asked by Members of the County Council of the Leader of the Council, a Cabinet Member, or a Chairman of a Committee. The question will be answered by the relevant Member and the Member asking the question may then ask a follow up question which will also be answered

Additional documents:


Councillor Yates asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-?? 




Last week I came across a vehicle parked on Zig-zag lines adjacent to a pelican crossing on Biddulph High Street. This is an all to frequent occurrence. I took a photograph and logged the time and date in order to report it. Unfortunately, I could not find and appropriate reporting form on either the Staffordshire County Council or Staffordshire Police Website. On conducting an online search to ascertain how to proceed I was directed to “Fix My Street” which does have the reporting capability for such an offence. Unfortunately, Staffordshire County Council do not accept reports from this organisation – can the Cabinet Member please confirm the policy for accepting reports of Highways (and parking issues) from third party organisations and whether they will consider accepting reports from these “user friendly” options?  ? 



As part of the county council’s digital strategy the ability to accept reports from third-party applications has previously been investigated and at that time was considered unsuitable.  Whilst they do offer some advantages, such as nationwide application, there are also many added complications to these systems, including: 

·       Allowing users to report issues on private and unadopted roads. 

·       Limited customisation with no ability to provide users with further information about the issue, including self-help advice. 

·       Low user rating on both Apple and Google platforms; and  

·       Having significant set-up cost and ongoing operating costs, which at that time were up to £62,000 per year. 


However, as part of the ongoing highways transformation programme a new Customer Relations Management (CRM) solution is currently being developed and as part of this work it is right that should review the case for accepting reports from third-party applications.  This work will be conducted over the summer months with the findings available later in the year.   


In the meantime, we will also review the front-end of the Report-It system to see if we can make it easier for users to navigate to the relevant parking report pages.  The ability to report parking offences on pedestrian crossing zig-zag lines does exist on the county council’s webpages for enforcement by our Civil Parking Enforcement officers, however enforcement of this offence by local Policing units allows endorsement with 3 penalty points.   


Supplementary Question 


What I’d like to see is an improvement to our reporting system.  Can you benchmark with other authorities as I am aware that Kent County Council has a very good app? 




We will always look to see what we can do to improve the system. 


Councillor Sweeney asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Change whose reply is set out below the question:-?? 




The noxious stink from Walleys Quarry Landfill in Newcastle under Lyme has been causing distress and concern to residents in my Division and beyond for a number of years. In recent months it has returned with a vengeance with complaints  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.



An opportunity for Members to present and speak on petitions submitted by their constituents

Additional documents:


Flooding along the access roads in Colton Parish 


Councillor Cox presented a petition from local residents calling on the County Council to take action to prevent the flooding of the access roads in Colton Parish.