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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

1.

Chairman's Introduction

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P Cutler, J S Hawkes, R Lees, T A Maddison, J A Ozog and J M Ozog.

3.

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.

4.

Items Reserved for Debate

Minutes:

The Chairman advised Members that the following agenda items had been drawn down for debate:

 

7.         Public Spaces Protection Order 2017 - Dartford Town Centre

 

11.      Update on Scheme of Delegations to Officers

 

Accordingly, Members endorsed the Officer recommendations in respect of the following items:

 

8.         Primary Authority - Support for Local Businesses - Environmental Health Partnership

 

9.         Discretionary Local Business Rates Relief Scheme

 

10.      Modern Slavery Act 2015

 

12.      Ombudsman - Annual Review Letter 2017

5.

Declarations of Interest on Items Reserved for Debate Only

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

6.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from Committees.

SD (ES)

7.

Public Spaces Protection Order 2017 - Dartford Town Centre pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This report seeks authority to make a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) pursuant to Part 4, Section 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, to supress the growing incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour occurring principally during the night – time economy hours in Dartford Town Centre.

 

2.         This report also proposes that the existing Designated Public Place Protection Order is replaced by the PSPO.  There are no other relevant orders within the proposed area.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That, on being satisfied that the anti-social behaviour activities detailed in paragraphs 3.7 and 3.8 of the report are having, or likely to have, a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, are persistent or continuing in nature, are unreasonable and that on the basis that the consultation process, as outlined in Appendix D to the report, confirms local support for the making of the Public Spaces Protection Order, the Public Spaces Protection Order 2017 – Dartford Town Centre be made on terms set out in Appendix A to the report, to apply to specific areas of Dartford Town Centre, as shown on the Map at Appendix B to the report.

 

2.         That the Strategic Director (External Services), in consultation with the Head of Legal Services, be authorised to undertake the statutory notice process for the making of the Order in accordance with the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Publication of Public Spaces Protection Orders) Regulations 2014 .

 

3.         That, having made the Public Spaces Protection Order 2017 – Dartford Town Centre, it not be enforced until the statutory 6 week period allowed for the Order to be challenged at the High Court has concluded.

 

4.         That the fixed penalty notice fine be set at £100, with a 50% discount if paid within 10 days. 

 

5.         That it be noted that the extant Designated Public Place Protection Order will expire on the making of the Public Spaces Protection Order.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report sought authority to make a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) pursuant to Part 4, Section 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, to suppress the growing incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) occurring principally during the night-time economy hours in Dartford Town Centre. It also proposed that the existing Designated Public Place Protection Order be replaced by the PSPO.

 

  • The Enforcement, Regulatory Services and Community Safety Unit Manager explained how the report presented the results of a consultation exercise that had been carried out since Members had last considered this proposal and said that 88% of the responses received has been in favour of the PSPO’s implementation. He also noted how the PSPO had greater powers and flexibility than the existing Designated Public Place Protection Order and said that the PSPO would be enforced with the help of the police. He also referred to the level of the fixed penalty notice (FPN) fine and said that the aim of the PSPO was not to make money but to eradicate ASB.

 

  • Members welcomed the proposed introduction of the PSPO and referred to the police resources that would be required to enforce the PSPO effectively and asked whether additional resources would be made available. The Enforcement, Regulatory Services and Community Safety Unit Manager replied that he could not respond on behalf of the police but referred to an article in the Gravesend Reporter where Chief inspector Gary Woodward had been quoted as saying:

 

“We support the local authority’s plan to implement a PSPO, however, we must ensure our resources are allocated effectively and deployed according to the level of risk, harm and threat in a particular community. We are currently conducting a review of how our officers are deployed in Dartford overnight at weekends. We will look to implement this in the near future and it will involve the deployment of police officers, officers from the Special Constabulary, police and community support officers and partners”.

 

The Enforcement, Regulatory Services and Community Safety Unit Manager also noted how a recent bid for additional resource funding had been rejected, but noted how they were continuing to discuss the resourcing situation with the police and hoped that Kent Police would be able to redeploy their current resources without negatively impacting the support that they already provide in other areas.

 

  • During further discussion relating to resourcing the Enforcement, Regulatory Services and Community Safety Unit Manager advised that he had 14 enforcement staff who would also be empowered to issue PSPO related FPNs but noted how they would not be expected to tackle incidents that may occur late at night. He said that he hoped that these measures would make it clear to people that Dartford was a hostile environment for those wishing to carry out ASB and that this would lead to a reduction in the number of reported incidents. He also noted how the powers would help address anti-social problems that are experienced during the day (e.g. daytime  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

SD (ES)

8.

Primary Authority - Support for Local Businesses - Environmental Health Partnership pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Summary:

 

1.         To update Members on the national Primary Authority Scheme.

 

2.         The Environmental Health teams for Dartford and Sevenoaks came together in April 2012 to form the Environmental Health Partnership.

 

3.         The Environmental Health (EH) Partnership has the opportunity to create Primary Authority partnerships with businesses, initially in Kent, but potentially UK wide. The businesses are required to fund the service provided by the Primary Authority Partner, and so a not for profit income is generated.

 

4.         The EH Partnership has partnered with and joined Kent County Council Trading Standards’ existing Primary Authority Partnerships. The EH Partnership wish to formalise and extend the arrangement.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the operation of the national Primary Authority Scheme, as set out in the report, be noted.

 

2.         That the provision of advice and support to businesses through an arrangement between the Environmental Health Partnership (as preferred Environmental Health advisors) and Kent County Council Trading Standards’ Primary Authority Partnerships, be agreed.

 

3.         That the provision of bespoke advice and support services to businesses by the Council’s Environmental Health Services, pursuant to a formal Primary Authority Partnership (between the Council and the business), be endorsed.

 

4.         That the Strategic Director (External Services) be granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Head of Legal Services, to enter a formal agreement with Kent County Council Trading Standards.

 

5.         That the fee to be charged respectively to businesses, where Dartford Borough Council is the Primary Authority and to Kent County Council Trading Standards, where the Environmental Health Partnership is providing professional advice to Kent County Council Trading Standards’ Primary Authority Partnership, be set at £70 +VAT per hour. This is a figure derived from an average team officer salary figure plus standard overhead costs. (To be reviewed annually each March).

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

9.

Discretionary Local Business Rates Relief Scheme pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Summary:

 

To approve Dartford’s Discretionary Local Business Rates Relief Scheme.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Members approve the proposed Discretionary Local Business Rates Relief scheme for 2017/18 to 2020/21, subject to an annual review process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

10.

Modern Slavery Act 2015 pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Summary:

 

This report informs Members of the obligations of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and seeks Members’ endorsement of a Modern Anti-Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement setting out the steps the Council has taken to ensure human trafficking and slavery does not occur within the organisation or its supply chains.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet endorses and approves for publication on the Council’s website the proposed Modern Anti-Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement at Appendix B to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

11.

Update on Scheme of Delegations to Officers pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Summary:

 

To update Members on the Scheme of Delegations to Officers and to recommend the continued delegation of functions in accordance with the Preamble to the Scheme of Delegations to Officers.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That Cabinet in pursuance of powers under Sections 14(3)(b) & (5) of the Local Government Act 2000 and all other powers enabling, continues to delegate to the Managing Director, to the extent of its respective powers, the Cabinet functions referred to in the Preamble to the Scheme of Delegations to Officers, at Appendix A to the report.

 

2.         That the General Assembly of the Council in pursuance of powers under Sections 101, 151 and 270 of the Local Government Act 1972 and all other powers enabling, continues to delegate to the Managing Director, to the extent of its respective powers, the Council functions referred to in the Preamble to the Scheme of Delegations to Officers, at Appendix A to the report.

 

3.         That Cabinet and the General Assembly of the Council note the Sub-delegations at Appendix B to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report updated Members on the Scheme of Delegations to Officers and recommended the continued delegation of functions in accordance with the Preamble to the Scheme of Delegations to Officers.

 

  • Reference was made to the decision making process and the involvement of Members and reassurance was sought that delegated authority would not be exercised in consultation with Lead Members. The Strategic Director (External Services) explained how authority is delegated to officers and not Members and how delegations made in Cabinet reports often specify that they be made in consultation with other officers (e.g. the Managing Director or the Head of Legal Services) and/or the Leader/Cabinet Member depending on the issue. She said that she knew of no occasions when a decision had been made in consultation with a Lead Member.

 

  • Members then referred to the delegation process and the Strategic Director (External Services) said that authority can only be delegated downwards and that if circumstances associated with a particular delegation change then the matter can be taken back to Cabinet (or GAC) for further consideration. She also noted how care is taken to ensure that delegations pass through all management levels so that others may take responsibility for the delegation in the absence of the officer originally delegated.

 

  • Particular reference was then made to the delegations associated with grants and the Strategic Director (External Services) confirmed that the Managing Director would only decide how grant funding was to be allocated, or change the application criteria, in consultation with the Leader, or Cabinet Member with portfolio for grants, and not a Lead Member. She also reminded Members that the decision is taken by the officer, not the Member, and stated that where the Scheme provides for consultation with a Cabinet Member, it means a Cabinet Member and not a Lead Member. She also agreed to advise Members of the name of the Cabinet Member holding the portfolio for grants.

 

  • It was noted how reference to named Members had not been included in the Scheme of Delegations because Cabinet responsibilities and membership can change from year to year. It was also pointed out that the delegation process did not preclude the involvement of Lead and other Members, but it was emphasised that the Member consulted with as being accountable for the final decision being made would be a Cabinet Member.

 

  • Following further discussion the Strategic Director (External Services) agreed to clarify the involvement of Cabinet Members in the delegated decision making process with the Head of Legal Services and report back to Members.

 

  • Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

12.

Ombudsman - Annual Review Letter 2017 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Summary:

 

To receive and note the Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2017.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2017, at Appendix A to the report and the corresponding data tables for the Council, at Appendices B and C to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.