Agenda and minutes

Special Council, Council
Thursday, 7th January, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Webcast through the Council's Website

Contact: Frank Jeffrey  on 01483 743012 or email  frank.jeffrey@woking.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Julie Fisher, Director of Community Services.

2.

Mayor's Communications.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor briefly reported on activities over the recent weeks including the opening of the new Boots and Specsaver Stores.  The Mayor gave a statement in respect of the Covid-19 pandemic and the latest restrictions announced by the Government, encouraging all residents to remain vigilant and adhere to the new restrictions.

3.

Urgent Business.

To consider any business which the Chairman rules may be dealt with under Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No items of Urgent Business were considered.

4.

Declarations of Interest. pdf icon PDF 50 KB

(i)         To receive declarations of interest from Members and Officers in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor D J Bittleston declared a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor A Azad declared a nonpecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor C S Kemp declared a nonpecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor D Harlow declared a nonpecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor G S Cundy declared a nonpecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council appointed director. The companies are listed in the attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Chief Executive, Ray Morgan, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mr Morgan could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Deputy Chief Executive, Douglas Spinks, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mr Spinks could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Peter Bryant, declared a disclosable personal interest (nonpecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mr Bryant could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Finance, Leigh Clarke, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mrs Clarke could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Housing, Louise Strongitharm, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Appointment of Chief Executive WBC21-002. pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a report on the appointment of Chief Executive which set out the process adopted for the recruitment of a new Chief Executive.  At the end of the process, the Interview Panel had identified two candidates who were both considered to be well suited for the position.  The Leader of the Council had agreed to put both candidates forward for a further interview by the Appointment Panel with all Members of the Council prior to the formal Council meeting.  Both candidates were invited to attend the further interview, one of whom subsequently withdrew from the process.  As a result, the additional interview was cancelled and the report recommended the appointment of the remaining candidate.

Councillor Azad moved and Councillor Ashall seconded the recommendation before the Council, namely the appointment of Julie Fisher as Chief Executive.

Several concerns over the process adopted were raised and Councillor Barker advised that a number of Councillors felt that a further interview should be held with Julie Fisher before the Council reached a decision to enable those Councillors not involved in the interview process to ask questions.  In view of this, Councillor Barker moved and Councillor Hughes seconded that:

“Council notes

Council is the determining authority in the appointment of a new CEO.

Councillors were anticipating the opportunity to choose between two candidates.

We must consider both the individual involved and the future operation of the Council in making any decision.

A number of councillors would like to know more about the final candidate before reaching a decision.

Council resolves

To defer the CEO appointment today and facilitate a session, such as would have been arranged for 2 candidates, for the remaining candidate, within the next month.”

The amendment was debated before moving to the vote.  In accordance with Standing Order 10.8 the names of Members voting for and against the amendment were recorded.  The Mayor advised that, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, she would be voting.

In favour: Councillors M Ali, T Aziz, A-M Barker, J Bond, A Boote, M Bridgeman, G Chrystie, W Forster, K Howard, D Hughes, I Johnson, R Leach, L Lyons, L Morales, M I Raja and J Sanderson.

Total in favour: 16

Against: The Mayor, Councillor Mrs Hunwicks, Councillors S Ashall, A Azad, D Bittleston, G Cundy, K Davis, G Elson, D Harlow, S Hussain, C Kemp, N Martin, R Mohammed, C Rana, and M Whitehand.

Total against: 14

Present not voting:.

The amendment was therefore carried by 16 votes in favour to 14 votes against.

RESOLVED

That the CEO appointment be deferred and a session facilitated such as would have been arranged for 2 candidates, for the remaining candidate, within the next month.

The Leader of the Council advised that, in light of the decision taken, an opportunity for all Members to ask questions of Julie Fisher would be arranged in advance of the Executive meeting on 14 January 2021.  A further Special Meeting of Council would be held on the evening  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Independent Investigation of the Woking Football Club and Associated Development WBC21-003. pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In July 2020 the Council had agreed to ask the Local Government Association to nominate a professional person or experienced organisation to investigate and review the processes and actions of the Council in respect of Woking Football Club and associated development. Dr. Gifty Edila was subsequently appointed to undertake the investigation and make appropriate recommendations to the Council.

The report set out the recommendations of Dr Edila together with the proposed ways in which the issues raised would be addressed.  It was noted that some of the recommendations identified by Dr Edila had previously been adopted by the Council and were therefore not included in the recommendations set out in the Council report.  Furthermore, the report set out proposals for taking forward some of the Independent Investigator’s recommendations.  A copy of the full report by Dr Edila was appended to the report.

Councillor Barker proposed that the Council should adopt the recommendations set out in Dr Edila’s report in full, rather than the recommendations set out in the Council report.  Accordingly, Councillor Barker moved and Councillor Chrystie seconded that:

“Council resolves that

1.    The recommendations set out in the Independent report by Dr Gifty Edila are accepted.

2.    Officers are to report back to Council at the July meeting on progress made against the recommendations.

3.    The Council expresses its appreciation for the work undertaken by Dr Gifty Edila.”

It was acknowledged that all the recommendations of Dr Edila were to be accepted and that the report outlined the way in which the Council would measure how they had been taken forward.  It was therefore agreed that the amendment would be supported nem con.

RESOLVED

That  (i)    the recommendations set out in the Independent report by Dr Gifty Edila and outlined below be accepted;

          (ii)   Officers report back to Council at the July meeting on progress made against the recommendations; and

          (iii)  the Council expresses its appreciation for the work undertaken by Dr Gifty Edila.

Recommendations of the Independent Investigation

Recommendation 1:

(i)      All major development projects however initiated should be recognised as a project and the Council’s project management tools such as Prince 2 should be adopted to manage the project.

(ii)     Internal training on project management should be provided to the Corporate Management team and their deputies.

Recommendation 2:

(i)      The report writing template for committees, the Executive and Full Council should be amended to include legal implications comments section. All reports should have legal implications comments and when proposals in a report do not have any legal implications, the comment ‘None’ should be inserted to provide clarity.

(ii)     If the WFC project proceed to implementation in the event of planning permission being obtained, an updated report should go to the Executive and Full Council and it should include confirmation of the legal powers on which the agreements were made.

Recommendation 3:

All major projects should have a completed risk management template that identifies all the relevant risks, and which should be supported with contingency plans  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.