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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Room B12, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

40.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Lloyd.

41.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or the Chief Officer & Director of Corporate Services.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

42.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 316 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 22 July 2021.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 22 July 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered the minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2021.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 22 July 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record.

43.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

44.

To receive the Minutes of Cabinet Advisory Panel A held on 20 September 2021

To follow

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that no Members of the Labour Group had been able to attend the Cabinet Advisory Panel and said that if any Member of the Group wished to discuss anything contained in the agenda they should contact the appropriate Cabinet Member who would be happy to help.

 

The Cabinet received the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet Advisory Panel A held on 20 September 2021 and had regard to the Panel’s views throughout the meeting.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet Advisory Panel A held on 20 September 2021 be noted.

45.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

46.

Policy for Publicising Enviro-crimes, ASBO's, Verdicts and Sentences pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Summary:

 

To endorse the Policy for Publicising Environmental Crime, Criminal Behaviour Orders, Verdicts and Sentences, so as to provide the Council with a defined and legitimate approach, in the public interest, to improve the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of its enforcement related activities, prevent and detect crime, identify offenders, encourage the release of images to the media where appropriate and at the earliest opportunity, discourage offending and/or re-offending etc.

Recommendation:

That the Policy for Publicising Environmental Crime, Criminal Behaviour Orders, Verdicts and Sentences, at Appendix A to the report, be endorsed.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Housing & Public Protection presented a report which proposed the introduction of a policy to support and enhance the Council’s regulatory and enforcement activities. The report explained that the Council had a number of teams delivering regulatory and enforcement functions which protected the public, public funds, the environment and groups such as consumers, residents, tenants, workers and businesses. It also had a wide range of responsibilities and powers in relation to anti-social behaviour, mainly within three distinct service areas; Community Safety, Environmental Health, and Housing Services. The Council’s teams worked together closely and the Council actively pursued fraud and criminal offences. It was felt however that these regulatory and enforcement activities would be further supported and enhanced if a Council-wide policy was developed which provided guidance on the publication of environmental crime, criminal behaviour orders, verdicts and sentences via the Council’s media channels. This approach would support the proactive work undertaken by the Council and also act as a deterrent to potential future offenders. The policy also set out the parameters for publicising such matters, to ensure that any decisions to publicise activities would be for a legitimate purpose, be necessary and proportionate, and that the handling of data would be in accordance with legislation and the Council’s policies for data handing, equalities and diversity.  The policy would improve the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of enforcement activities and also assist with preventing and detecting crime, identifying offenders and discouraging offending and re-offending. The policy would also be supported by a Communications & Media Protocol for Investigating Officers.

 

The Chairman welcomed the introduction of the policy but was concerned about the wording of paragraph 6.3 of the policy which stated that ‘in order for the publication of the image to be necessary in pursuit of a legitimate purpose, all other reasonable means of tracing or identifying the suspect must have failed.’ He felt that this was too high a threshold and suggested that the second part of the sentence should be reworded as follows ‘when other reasonable means of identifying and tracing the suspect have been carried out.’ He felt that this was more realistic and achievable.

 

The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety also questioned the wording of the disclaimed, detailed in paragraph 5.7.4(e) of the policy, which sought to preclude the storage, recording, republishing or other processing of details of sentencing outcomes published on the Council’s web site without the explicit agreement of the Council. He pointed out that it would be impossible for the Council to enforce this and that once material had been published on social media it was frequently shared and retweeted. The Chairman agreed and said that, whilst the Council could delete material from its own social media channels whenever it wished, it could not control or delete anything that had been shared or forwarded from that post as it effectively lived forever on social media. He felt that if this was not a legal requirement this should be removed from the disclaimer. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Communications and Media Protocol for Investigating Officers pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Summary:

 

To endorse the Communications & Media Protocol for Investigating Officers, to ensure that any communications pertaining to regulatory and enforcement across the Council is well coordinated, effectively managed and responsive to the diverse information needs of the Council and the public.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Communications & Media Protocol for Investigating Officers, at Appendix A to the report, be endorsed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Housing & Public Protection explained that a Communications & Media Protocol for Investigating Officers had been developed to underpin the new Policy for Publicising Environmental Crime, Criminal Behaviour Orders, Verdicts and Sentences. The report detailed how the Protocol would ensure that the Council communicated effectively with residents on its regulatory and enforcement activities and would provide guidance to investigating Officers across Council departments on their communications relating to their regulatory and enforcement activities, thereby ensuring that these were lawful, well-coordinated, effectively managed and responsive to the diverse information needs of the Council and the public. The Protocol provided a guide and set of principles to work by, which had been written with the aim of protecting the reputation of the Council in publicising environmental crime, criminal behaviour orders, verdicts and sentences, and providing it with the framework to deliver much improved communications to the public on its regulatory and enforcement activities. The Protocol would also ensure that any instruction to the Communications Team to publicise an image, environmental crime, criminal behaviour orders and verdicts and sentences, including sharing with the media, would be for a legitimate purpose, and be necessary and proportionate.

 

  RESOLVED:

 

That the Communications & Media Protocol for Investigating Officers, attached at Appendix A to the report, be endorsed.

 

48.

Dartford Town Centre - Parking Study - Objectives and Approach pdf icon PDF 264 KB

Summary:

 

To report on the proposed Parking Study for the Dartford Town Centre and matters ancillary thereto.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the provisional area for the Parking Study be agreed as identified in Appendix A to the report and that work on identification of the priority areas be undertaken, as set out in paragraph 7.2 of the report; and

2. That a further report be presented to Cabinet in due course setting out:

 

                   i.       the results of the Identification Stage;

                 ii.       the recommended priorities for consultation and further investigation;

                iii.       details of the proposed Stage 1 informal consultation and the area(s) that this will relate to.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Planning Services introduced a report which detailed parking pressures on the roads around Dartford Town centre arising from town centre activities, development and commuter parking. To address this a more integrated approach was required to address on-street and off-street parking, as well as parking for new development and to look beyond purely reactive measures. In order to fully understand the parking issues it was proposed to carry out a comprehensive parking study of the Town Centre and its environs. The area for study had been determined by identifying a radius of 10 minute walking time from Dartford railway station and extending the area to the nearest ‘natural boundary’. In view of the scale and diverse nature of this area it was proposed to break the area down into sub-zones, in consultation with local ward Members, to be prioritised for detailed analysis, investigation and consultation with stakeholders and residents. The initial study would examine on-street parking and an evaluation of the current on-street parking controls and enforcement. The challenge was to find a balance between the needs of residents, businesses and visitors, and to minimise the impact of commuter parking on local residents, whilst being mindful of any potential displacement of parking pressures.

 

The area under review contained a total of 106 roads and over 8,000 properties, including the High Street and the core of the Town Centre. Should parking controls be deemed to be necessary, if supported by residents, it was likely that each sub-area/zone would have its own individual consultation, with parking permits being issued in appropriate streets within that zone only, in order to stop inter-zone commuting. The report outlined the scope, methodology and stages of the proposed study and the Cabinet was asked to agree the identified provisional study area and arrangements for consultation with ward Members, Officers and Kent County Council Highways. A further report would then be submitted to Cabinet with regard to priority areas for further work and more detail on the consultation stage and survey work.

 

The Chairman noted that in the past it had only been possible to examine one or two parking schemes a year due to a lack of resource, and despite an increase in that resource, the study needed to be realistic and achievable. Ward Member support had always been important in taking parking schemes forward and he welcomed the proposed involvement of Ward Members in the study. He felt that it was important that Members recognised that they must be partners in the consultation study and should work with officers to ensure that they did not make promises to residents that were undeliverable and which could be thrown back at the Council as a result. He also felt that there should be clear and specific criteria of the circumstances where schemes would be progressed and when they would not be pursued arising from the study.

 

The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety explained how the parking consultation in Bow Arrow Lane had been driven by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Revision to Part 1 of the Approved Scheme of Delegations to Officers: 1-4-1 Right-to-Buy Replacement Scheme Delegations pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Summary:

 

To seek approval for a revision, for the reasons outlined in the report, to the financial threshold  applying to the 1-4-1 Right to Buy Replacement Scheme property sales and purchases delegation, within which the Director of Housing and Public Protection is authorised to act.

 

Recommendation:

 

That, for the reasons referred to in paras. 3.3 and 3.5 of the report, the financial threshold relating to 1-4-1 Right to Buy Replacement Scheme property sales and purchases  delegation, within which the Director of Housing and Public Protection is authorised to act, be increased to £500,000.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which proposed increasing the financial threshold for the delegated authority of the Director of Housing & Public Protection applying to the 1-4-1 Right-to-Buy Replacement Scheme property sales and purchases, from £300,000 to £500,000.The Director of Housing & Public Protection explained that the current financial limit of £300,000 was impacting on the Council’s ability to purchase larger houses on the open market due to rising property prices both nationally and locally, whilst there was a shortage of available 3 and 4 bedroom properties to rent within the Council’s housing stock to meet the needs of larger families. Raising the financial threshold would better place the Council to acquire larger family homes for Council housing should they become available to purchase.

 

The Chairman said that it was not only the rising property prices that had been problematic but also the valuations assigned to some of the properties. The Director of Housing & Public Protection said that there was now a better understanding of the local housing market which was addressing this.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

That, for the reasons referred to in paragraphs 3.3 and 3.5 of the report, the financial threshold relating to the 1-4-1 Right-to Buy Replacement Property Sales and Purchases delegation, within which the Director of Housing & Public Protection is authorised to act, be increased to £500,000.

 

50.

Street Naming and Numbering: Site 1 - Northfleet West Sub-Station (Phase 2C) and Site 2 - Stone Lodge Development Complex Access Road pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Summary:

 

To seek approval for single new road names for the next phase of the Northfleet West Sub Station development and for the main access to the area known as the Stone Lodge Development Complex.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the single new road name for the next phase of the Northfleet West Sub-Station development be approved as Rixson: and

2. That the single new road name for the access way to the Stone Lodge Development Complex be approved as Stone Lodge.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which sought approval for the names of two new roads for the next phase of the Northfleet West Sub-station and the main access to the Stone Lodge Development Complex. The proposed names had been submitted for consultation to Council Members, the Emergency Services, Royal Mail and the developer, who were happy with them, and complied with the Council’s policy on Street Naming. Suitable suffixes would be chosen once the final road names had been approved.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1. That the single new rad name for the next phase of the Northfleet West Sub-station development be approved as Rixson; and

 

2. That the single new road name for the access way to the Stone Lodge Development Complex be approved as Stone Lodge.  

51.

Ombudsman Annual Review Letter pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Summary:

 

To receive and note the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2021 and the Housing Ombudsman’s Landlord Performance Data 2019/2020.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2021, at Appendix A to the report and the corresponding data tables at Appendix B, be noted; and

 

2. That the Housing Ombudsman’s Landlord Performance Data 2019/2020, at Appendix C to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which presented the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2021 relating to complaints against the Council and decisions made by the Ombudsman for the year ending 31 March 2021, statistics as to the outcomes of investigations, and the Housing Ombudsman’s Landlord Performance Data for 2019/20.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

1. That the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2021, at Appendix A to the report, and the corresponding data tables at Appendix B to the report, be noted; and

 

2. That the Housing Ombudsman’s Landlord Performance Data 2019/20, at Appendix C to the report, be noted.

 

52.

Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 216 KB

Summary:

 

To receive the minutes of the following meetings:

 

(a) Strategic Housing Board held on 14 July 2021;

 

(b) Policy Overview Committee held on 20 July 2021.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meetings of the Strategic Housing Board held on 14 July 2021 and of the Policy Overview Committee held on 20 July 2021 be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet received the minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Housing Board held on 14 July 2021 and of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 20 July 2021.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meetings of the Strategic Housing Board held on 14 July 2021 and of the Policy Overview Committee held on 20 July 2021 be noted.