Agenda and minutes

Virtual, Council
Wednesday, 15th July, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual TEAMS meeting

Contact: Liz Drogan 

Items
No. Item

1.

To receive apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Ahmad and Councillor Sykes.

2.

Attendance and declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Due to the current pandemic and the virtual meeting, a roll call of elected members present was taken, and at the same time, in accordance with the Code of Conduct, elected members declared the following interests:

 

Councillor Garry declared a pecuniary interest at Item 8d by virtue of her husband’s employment with Greater Manchester Police.

Councillor Chris Gloster declared a personal interest at Item 8d by virtue of his receipt of an occupational pension from Greater Manchester Police.

Councillor Hazel Gloster declared a personal interest at Item 8d by virtue of her husband’s receipt of an occupational pension from Greater Manchester Police

Councillor Hamblett declared a personal interest at Item 8d by virtue of his appointment to the MioCare Board.

Councillor Ur-Rehman declared a pecuniary interest at Item 13 by virtue of his appointment to the Greater Manchester Transport Committee.  Councillor Ur-Rehman left the meeting during this item and took no part in the discussion or vote thereon.

 

3.

To order that the Minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 17th June 2020 be signed as a correct record pdf icon PDF 567 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Council meeting held on 17th June 2020 be agreed as a correct record.

4.

To deal with matters which the Mayor considers to be urgent business

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

5.

To receive communications relating to the business of the Council

Minutes:

There were no communication items.

6.

To receive and note petitions received relating to the business of the Council

(time limit 20 minutes)

Minutes:

There were no petitions received to be noted.

7.

Youth Council

(time limit 20 minutes)

 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown has proved to be a trial for many people, around the world. 

As a Youth Council we have consulted with various young people, to explore the specific areas of everyday life which have been greatly affected by the restrictions that we, as a nation, have had to follow.  We asked young people in Oldham to share their experiences of lockdown for them as individuals

We have found that these restrictions have had significant impacts on our education experience and employment aspirations and in turn this has led to further stress and strain being put on young people’s mental health during lockdown.  Indeed, it has been reported that as a result of schools being closed and jobs being furloughed many young people may lose a sense of structure and positive stimulation, and that this will lead to an increase in anxiety and depression for many young people.

It is now clear that this pandemic will have had a devastating effect on our society, and particularly on young people. The current economic crisis risks pushing an additional 600,000 18-24 year olds nationally into unemployment in the coming year. In addition to this, there will be long-term damage to their pay and job prospects even after the economy recovers unless new support is provided.

The risks to the borough could be particularly devasting to young people as the reported youth unemployment rate in Oldham in May 2020 stood at 15.1%, the highest across Greater Manchester. This will be again increased as the employment rates of graduates entering work during the pandemic are projected to be 13% lower than they would have been without the crisis, while rates for mid and low-skilled workers risk falling even more, by 27% and 37% respectively.

Furthermore, those who do find work are likely to face reduced pay. The Class of 2020 report by the Nuffield Foundation states that, ‘one year after leaving education, the pay of graduates is projected to be 7% lower, and 9% and 19% lower for mid- and low-skilled workers’, Oldham’s average salary comparison is already £8000 per annum lower than the national average.

There are also questions about whether there will be work for those who have been furloughed, let alone for those only just beginning to enter the labour market.

This all paints a rather grim picture for the future Employment of Young people!

It hasn’t all been bad news and we have seen some positives within the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.  With schools delivering remote teaching our digital skills have increased.  Teachers and students have learnt about apps such as Google Hangouts or Zoom, Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams.

As people are staying at home, they have been using technology a lot more and learning new skills such as how to socialise via video calling apps, starting online social media accounts, trading products online or freelancing and selling services, some young people have even learned how to code in python or  ...  view the full agenda text for item 7.

Minutes:

The Youth Council PROPOSED the following MOTION:

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has proved to be a trial for many people, around the world.

As a Youth Council we have consulted with various young people, to explore the specific areas of everyday life which have been greatly affected by the restrictions that we, as a nation, have had to follow.  We asked young people in Oldham to share their experiences of lockdown for them as individuals.

We have found that these restrictions have had significant impacts on our education experience and employment aspirations and in turn this has led to further stress and strain being put on young people’s mental health during lockdown.  Indeed, it has been reported that as a result of schools being closed and jobs being furloughed many young people may lose a sense of structure and positive stimulation, and that this will lead to an increase in anxiety and depression for many young people.

It is now clear that this pandemic will have had a devastating effect on our society, and particularly on young people.  The current economic crisis risks pushing an additional 600,000 18 – 24 year olds nationally into unemployment in the coming year.  In addition to this, there will be long-term damage to their pay and job prospects even after the economy recovers unless new support is provided. 

The risks to the borough could be particularly devastating to young people as the reported youth unemployment rate in Oldham in May 2020 stood at 15.1%, the highest across Greater Manchester.  This will be again increased as the employment rates of graduates entering work during the pandemic are projected to be 13% lower than they would have been without the crisis, while rates for mid and low-skilled workers risk falling even more, by 27% and 37% respectively.

Furthermore, those who do find work are liked to face reduced pay.  The Class of 2020 report by the Nuffield Foundation states that, ‘one year after leaving education, the pay of graduates is projected to be 7% lower, and 9% and 19% lower for mid- and low-skilled workers’, Oldham’s average salary comparison is already £8000 per annum lower than the national average.

There are also questions about whether there will be work for those who have been furloughed, let alone for those only just beginning to enter the labour market.  This all paints a rather grim picture for the future Employment of Young People. 

It hasn’t all be bad news and we have seen some positives within the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.  With schools delivering remote teaching our digital skills have increased.  Teachers and students have learnt about apps such as Google Hangouts or Zoom, Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams.

As people are staying at home, they have been using technology a lot more and learning new skills such as how to socialise via video apps, starting online social media accounts, trading products online or freelancing and selling services, some young people have even learned how to code  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Questions Time

8a

Public Questions

(time limit 15 Minutes)

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that the next item on the agenda was Public Question Time.  Questions had been received from members of the public and would be taken in the order in which they had been received.  Council was advised that the questions would be read out by the Mayor.

 

The following questions were submitted:

 

1.         Question received from Nazrul Islam via email:

 

           The Council announced that it had established a discretionary grant fund for businesses who were not eligible for the Government grants. How much has the Council paid out via this fund and how many businesses have been helped by it?”

 

            Councillor Jabbar, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Green responded that the Council was administering the Government’s discretionary grants fund.  At close of play on 13th July 2020, the Council had spent £2.230m of the maximum £2.501m available to spend and had supported 234 businesses.  Applications were still being process and subject to completion of the review of applications, it was hoped to support around another 30 businesses.  The Council was making maximum use of the Government grant schemes before considering payment of grants to any businesses that fell outside of the Government’s arrangements.  The Secretary of State had been lobbied to give greater flexibility in the use of allocations received as part of the small business grants to support businesses in Oldham which fell outside the grant criteria and had not received financial assistance.  No confirmation had been received on the flexibility, but lobbying would continue as it was intended to support all businesses in Oldham who had losses due to the pandemic.

 

2.         Question received from Helen Norton via email:

 

            “I would like to ask when pools and gyms will be re-opening as I was a regular user of both Failsworth & Oldham Leisure centres and have missed not being able to attend. I am aware that other countries have re-opened theirs and wonder when we may be in a position to re-open our centres.  Thanks in advance.”

 

            Councillor Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care responded that the Leisure Centres were operated by Oldham Community Leisure and the gyms would be allowed to open when deemed safe, it was assured that appropriate measures would be taken and following Government guidance the gyms would be opened.  Thanks were added to Oldham Community Leisure for the support provided to the residents of Oldham as OCL had opened centres to facilitate food banks for vulnerable people in the communities, car parks for testing centres and running online classes.

 

3.         Question received from Ian Manners via email:

 

            “My question is how is Oldham Council planning to address the gap in its finances caused by Covid-19?”

 

            Councillor Jabbar, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Green responded that the Council was still working through the full financial implications of the impact of COVID-19.  At this point there was a shortfall of £20.8m in this financial year and a projected shortfall of £41m  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8a

8b

Questions to Leader and Cabinet

(time limit 30 minutes)

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader of the Main Opposition, Councillor Chris Gloster, raised the following two questions:

 

Question 1: Local Lockdown in Oldham

 

“My question concerns the issue of Coronavirus Local Lockdowns.  It is a great tragedy that after four months we are still dealing with the impact in human suffering, lost lives, and increasingly, the economic downturn caused by this terrible virus.  Just as the situation appeared to be slightly improving and people began to experience hope, on the 29th June, the health secretary announced that the first local lockdown would be applied.  This was of course in Leicester.  This included the closure of schools (except for children of key workers), which partially reopened on 1 June, and non-essential retail, which reopened across England on 15 June.  Before the lockdown in Leicester, the Government had suggested that local lockdowns would be handled by local leaders.  What actually happened wsa that the imposition of lockdown in Leicester was decided by central Government.  Boris Johnson’s leadership has overseen fatal communication blunders.  These blunders kept ‘local leaders’ in the dark on what was happening with Covid-19, much too late.  When Leicester went into lockdown, the Government said that the local seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 people, three times higher than the next highest city.  How did it get to that clear level of cases and local politicians and officers hadn’t a clue what was going on?  The aim of a local lockdown is to control the spread of the Covid-19 by containing it within a localised area, but not necessarily by authority.  It means re-imposing social distancing restrictions across the whole of the affected area.  Sadly, Oldham has been harder hit than many other towns and cities in England by the Coronavirus Pandemic.  I am optimistic that we have the right preparations in place for the worst-case scenario.  As the Government has given consistently conflicting and confusing advice and acted slowly and communicated slowly, please can hel tell us what are we doing locally to make sure that we are ahead of the game, even if the Conservative Government is not?  I know that tonight we have another detailed report on Oldham’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, but I believe many of our concerned residents would welcome an honest appraisal of our local situation and a reassurance that Oldham is ahead of the game in lay person’s language.  So I invite the Leader to provide that appraisal and reassurance tonight by telling us more about our Oldham plan if we are required to go into local lockdown?  And I would specifically welcome his assurance that the local track and trace testing data from the Department of Health and Social Care and its’ contractor Deloitte is now being passed onto our relevant health teams so they can act on them to help mitigate against any local spike in Covid-19 infection?”

 

 

Councillor Fielding, Leader of the Cabinet and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills echoed the points raised in the question and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8b

8c

Questions on Cabinet Minutes pdf icon PDF 231 KB

(time limit 15 minutes)

Minutes:

Council were requested to note the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on the undermentioned data and to receive any questions on any items within the minutes from members of the Council who were not members of the Cabinet and receive responses from Cabinet Members.  The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 23 April 2020 were submitted.

 

Members raised the following question:

 

Councillor Sheldon asked the following question related to Cabinet 23 April 2020, Item 10 – Proposed Purchase of Former WH Shaw Pallet Works, Huddersfield Road, Diggle. 

 

Councillor Sheldon asked for an update on the purchase and assumed that now that the land in Diggle earmarked for the new Saddleworth School was complete, asked how much the purchase of the land cost and also sought assurance that the clock tower building, which e believed as a listed building, would be protected.  Councillor Sheldon also asked that Council give consideration that when the current Saddleworth School was removed, would the Council revisit the plan for this Uppermill site and include a much-needed larger medical centre to replace the existing facility on Smithy Lane.  This would provide space at the current Smithy Lane Health Centre to be developed into village centre car parking.  This was something that residents and businesses had asked for many years and suggested that businesses had suffered from the lack of parking spaces. 

 

Councillor Fielding, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills responded that so as not to provide incorrect information and he would provide the response in writing and that could then be shared.

 

RESOLVED that;

1.         The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 23rd April 2020 be noted.

2.         The question and response provided be noted.

8d

Questions on Joint Arrangements pdf icon PDF 382 KB

(time limit 15 minutes)

 

Police and Crime Panel                                          28 January 2020

                                                                                    31 January 2020

 

Greater Manchester Combined Authority            14 February 2020

                                                                                    29 May 2020

                                                                                    24 June 2020

 

MioCare Board                                                         23 January 2020

 

Peak Park District Authority                                   13 March 2020

                                                                                    22 May 2020

Additional documents:

Minutes:

To note the minutes of the following Joint Authority and Partnership meetings and the relevant spokesperson to respond to questions from Members.

 

The minutes of the following Joint Authorities and Partnership meetings were submitted as follows:

 

Police and Crime Panel                                          28 January 2020

                                                                                    31 January 2020

Greater Manchester Combined Authority            14 February 2020

                                                                                    29 May 2020

                                                                                    24 June 2020

MioCare Board                                                         23 January 2020

Peak Park District Authority                                   13 March 2020

                                                                                    22 May 2020

 

Members asked the following questions:

 

1.         Councillor Al-Hamdani asked the following question on the Police and Crime Panel Minutes, 28 January 2020, Item PCP/09/20 – Child Sexual Exploitation:

            “The Deputy Mayor has provided a verbal update, which covers three strands of the CSE review, on Operation Augusta (with reference to Maggie Oliver’s allegations),on the situation in Rochdale, and the way respond in future to allegations of sexual exploitation, but due to the timing of the meeting, not on the investigation into Oldham – which has commenced and been running for several months in the intervening period.  Given the importance of this for anyone who has suffered any form of exploitation, and for reassuring other members of the public of the seriousness with which this must be treated, could you let us know when we can expect information to be provided on the investigation into Oldham will be provided to the GMCA, and indeed to the Borough Council, and what areas we expect this report to cover.

 

            Councillor Fielding, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills responded that he was pleased to put on record his response as there was ample speculation made by people who were not in full possession of the facts surrounding this issue.  The review into historic child sexual exploitation in Oldham being conducted by an independent review team was well underway.  The review was being overseen by the GMCA Steering Group, chaired by the Deputy Mayor and the review team regularly reported progress to the steering group.  The terms of reference were publicly available.  Given the complexity and independence of the review the Council was not in direct control of the timeline for completion of the review or release of its report and it shouldn’t be to guarantee independence.  Through the GMCA Steering Group, the Council was confident that positive progress was being made.  The Leader commented that it was regrettable that the most verbal of those who made allegations on historic failings had refused to engage with the review.  The Leader further commented that it was regrettable that a small number of individuals continued to share allegations but had no evidence behind them.  The Leader hoped that upon hearing this response those making allegations without presenting evidence to support them to the authorities would think about their behaviour.  The Leader hoped that any victims would not be denied the justice they deserved by selfish individuals holding onto information that could allow prosecutions to take place and answers which were sought provided.  Further details would be provided to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8d

9.

Notice of Administration Business

(time limit 30 minutes)

 

Motion 1

 

Councillor Jabbar to MOVE and Councillor C Gloster to SECOND:

Funding Recovery, Jobs and Services

This council notes with thanks the combined efforts of council officers, our public sector partners, volunteers and businesses in working together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. From carers looking after older residents and putting themselves at risk, to the waste team quickly finding new ways of working to keep our bins empty, to the huge army of volunteers distributing food parcels to those in need, the crisis has shown Oldham at its best.

We must also acknowledge the funding and support packages that the Government has put in place to assist businesses in Oldham, some of which have been administered by the council. Without this Government support many businesses would have ceased trading and more Oldhamers would be facing unemployment.

However, whilst there has been a range of Government support, the council is facing a significant financial challenge. Some Government funding has been received, including £14.2m of unringfenced grant. A further funding package was announced on 2nd July but it did not provide the clarity required for the council assess the extent of the additional financial support. However, it is evident that it will fall far short of the funding required to compensate for the additional expenditure being incurred and for the income that has been lost in this financial year. 

If the Government does not provide any more support the council will have to consider making cuts to key services in order to manage its finances effectively. This will also have an impact in 2021/22 which already has a budget reduction target of £23m. Any additional financial pressure will be on top of the £221m of budget reductions that the council has been forced to make as a result of the Government’s austerity regime.

It is important to note that on 16th March the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, told English council leaders “This government stands with local councils at this difficult time. Everyone needs to play their part to help the most vulnerable in society and support their local economy. The government will do whatever is necessary to support these efforts.”  By 14 April the message had changed and Jenrick told council leaders that councils would have to “share the burden” of coronavirus-related costs.  We need the Government to honour its original statement and do whatever is necessary to support councils in their response to COVID-19 - including fully funding the extra financial pressures.

 

This council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to:

  • The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to fully fund councils for the extra costs and lost income arising from COVID-19 in line with his communication of 16th March
  • The LGA to confirm the council’s support in their lobbying of Government for increased funding for local government in response to financial pressures arising from COVID-19
  • Key partner organisations across Oldham, requesting  ...  view the full agenda text for item 9.

Minutes:

Motion 1 – Funding Recovery, Jobs and Services

 

Councillor Jabbar MOVED and Councillor C. Gloster SECONDED the following MOTION:

 

“This council notes with thanks the combined efforts of council officers, our public sector partners, volunteers and businesses in working together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.  From carers looking after older residents and putting themselves at risk, to the waste team quickly finding new ways of working to keep our bins empty, to the huge army of volunteers distributing food parcels to those in need, the crisis has shown Oldham at its best.

We must also acknowledge the funding and support packages that the Government has put in place to assist businesses in Oldham, some of which have been administered by the council.  Without this Government support many businesses would have ceased trading and more Oldhamers would be facing unemployment. 

However, whilst there has been a range of Government support, the council is facing a significant financial challenge.  Some Government funding has been received, including £14.2m of unringfenced grant.  A further funding package was announced on 2nd July but it did not provide the clarity required for the council assess the extent of the additional financial support.  However, it is evident that it will fall far short of the funding required to compensate for the additional expenditure being incurred and for the income that has been lost in this financial year.

If the Government does not provide any more support the council will have to consider making cuts to key services in order to manage its finances effectively.  This will also have an impact in 2021/22 which already has a budget reduction target of £23m.  Any additional financial pressure will be on top of the £221m of budget reductions that the council has been forced to make as a result of the Government’s austerity regime.

It is important to note that on 16th March the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, told English council leaders ‘This government stands with local councils at this difficult time.  Everyone needs to play their part to help the most vulnerable in society and support their local economy.  The government will do whatever is necessary to support these efforts.’  By 14 April the message had changed and Jenrick told council leaders that councils would have to ‘share the burden’ of coronavirus related costs. We need the Government to honour its original statement and do whatever is necessary to support councils in their response to COVID-19 – including fully funding the extra financial pressures.

This Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to:

·         The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to fully fund councils for the extra costs and lost income arising from COVID-19 in line with his communication of 16th March

·         The LGA to confirm the council’s support in their lobbying of Government for increased funding for local government in response to financial pressures arising from COVID-19

·         Key partner organisations across Oldham, requesting their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Notice of Opposition Business

(time limit 30 minutes)

 

Motion 1

 

Councillor Al-Hamdani to MOVE and Councillor H Gloster to SECOND:

Preventing modern slums in Oldham Borough

This Council notes that:

  • In 2019,15 oppressive flats got the go ahead in Watford through a planning loophole.  These dwellings were below the government’s advisory space guidelines for homes, and some had no access to natural light.
  • Homes without natural light are inhumane for people to dwell in.  This is not an acceptable standard for people to live by in Oldham Borough, nor anywhere for that matter.
  • The Government minimum recommended size for dwellings built or renovated is 37 square metres.  However, this is not a legal requirement.
  • The current legislation allows offices and warehouses to be converted to flats without planning permission.  This is how the inhumane dwellings in Watford got around the council’s humanitarian objections.
  • We live in a time where it is decent and common practice that farm animals get to see sunlight as part of their daily living conditions.
  • A government review of these regulations is underway.
  • Oldham Borough Council must prevent modern slums from slipping through the planning net locally.  An oppressive environment would have a serious impact upon the health of future occupiers.

This Council resolves to:

  • Write to the Secretary of State urging that the General Permitted Development Order be changed so that councils can have the final say on dwellings and that those proposals with no natural light be rejected on humanitarian grounds.
  • Write to Mayor Andy Burnham to request that the Greater Manchester Spatial framework notes the inhumane nature of this policy when assessing the use of brownfield sites.
  • That proposed dwellings with no natural light will not be built in Oldham Borough as an oppressive living environment would have a serious negative impact upon physical and mental health.
  • This Council has a commitment to providing homes that are of an acceptable modern standard.

 

Motion 2

 

Councillor Harkness to MOVE and Councillor Williamson to SECOND:

Tackling clothing poverty and waste

This Council notes that:

·         The culture of ‘fast fashion’ which prevails in the UK and elsewhere leads to the over-production and over-consumption of clothing.

·         Over-production represents the excessive depletion of precious natural resources and the financial exploitation of workers in the clothing industry.  This exploitation is often close to home.

·         Over-consumption can lead to clothing being worn once or never at all.

·         In contrast, many residents of Oldham Borough living on a low-income struggle to afford to buy much-needed clothing for themselves, and for those in their family.

·         This is an environmental disaster and a waste. It is the underutilisation of good clothing that could go to other people in need.

·         Whilst there are charitable providers of free clothing in Oldham Borough to those in need, not every district is well served and there is a lack of awareness of provision.

·         In parts of the UK, innovative schemes exist such as ‘community clothing exchanges’, where at regular events participants can swap clothes; ‘community clothes banks’, where clothing racks are  ...  view the full agenda text for item 10.

Minutes:

Motion 1 – Preventing modern slums in Oldham Borough

 

Councillor Al-Hamdani MOVED and Councillor H. Gloster SECONDED the following MOTION:

 

“This Council notes that:

·         In 2019, 15 oppressive flats got the go ahead in Watford through a planning loophole.  These dwellings were below the government’s advisory space guidelines for homes, and some had no access to natural light.

·         Homes without natural light are inhumane for people to dwell in.  This is not an acceptable standard for people to live by in Oldham Borough nor anywhere for that matter.

·         The Government minimum recommended size for dwellings built or renovated is 37 square metres.  However, this is not a legal requirement.

·         The current legislation allows offices and warehouses to be converted to flats without planning permission.  This is how the inhumane dwellings in Watford got around the council’s humanitarian objections.

·         We live in a time where it is decent and common practice that farm animals get to see sunlight as part of their daily living conditions.

·         A government review of these regulations is underway.

·         Oldham Borough Council must prevent modern slums from slipping through the planning net locally.  An oppressive environment would have a serious impact upon the health of future occupiers.

This Council resolves to:

·         Write to the Secretary of State urging that the General Permitted Development Order be changed so that council can have the final say on dwellings and that those proposals with no natural light be rejected on humanitarian grounds.

·         Write to Mayor Andy Burnham to request that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework notes the inhumane nature of this policy when assessing the use of brownfield sites.

·         That proposed dwellings with no natural light will not be built in Oldham Borough as an oppressive living environment would have a serious negative impact upon physical and mental health.

·         The Council has a commitment to providing homes that are of an acceptable modern standard.”

 

AMENDMENT

 

Councillor Roberts MOVED and Councillor S. Bashforth SECONDED the following AMENDMENT:

 

“This Council notes bullet point 1

Delete: through a planning loophole

Insert: using permitted development rights expanded by the Coalition Government in 2015 and widened further by later Conservative Governments. 

 Bullet point 6

Add at end; with the intention of restricting further a local Council’s right to grant or refuse planning permission.

Bullet point 7

Insert between must and prevent: take all possible steps to

This Council resolves

After urging that begin number points and insert 1. Before the General Permitted Development Order; then insert: 2015 and subsequent amendments

Delete:  have the final say on dwellings

Insert: make locally accountable planning decisions and apply locally agreed policies and standards.

Delete and that those proposals with no natural light be rejected on humanitarian grounds

Insert: 2. the Government’s minimum required space standard be made mandatory

3. all homes be required to have adequate natural light

Delete bullet point 2:

Replace with: Write to Mayor Andy Burnham to confirm that minimum space standards have been applied when assessing housing numbers on brownfield sites for the Greater  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Oldham's COVID-19 Response pdf icon PDF 623 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Shah MOVED and Councillor Fielding SECONDED a report which provided an update on the Council and its partners continued to monitor and manage the spread of the virus as lockdown restrictions were relaxed.

 

COVID-19 was still circulating across the UK and new cases were still being seen across Oldham every day.  There was a clear plan in place in case of an outbreak locally.  The report summarised those plans, demonstrated how the Council and its partners would collectively manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19 across Oldham’s communities.  Work was also ongoing to address the wider impacts of COVID-19, for example, the impact on Oldham’s economy and this would be considered in future update reports.

 

The report highlighted COVID-19 in Oldham with the number of cases, testing, hospital admissions, differences based on ethnicity and age and the number of deaths.  The data on testing and confirmed cases was being analysed and work was also ongoing to quickly identify any disproportionate impacts and potential hot-spots to allow resources to be targeted as detailed in Oldham’s Outbreak Management Plan. 

 

The report also highlighted equality and COVID-19 with analysis and data still being developed.  An Equality Advisory Group had been established to provide insight and expertise to help capture the voice of lived community experience and recovery planning.  The group was meeting regularly to anticipate and identify any discriminatory or negative consequences of the pandemic and help positively respond to any disproportionate impact COVID-19 had on communities. 

 

The report also provided information on Contact Tracing and Outbreak Management Planning which included Oldham’s approach to preventing and managing the spread as well as responding to cases and managing outbreaks.  The report highlighted “Reopening Safely” which including business, town centre signage and the Oldham Library Service.  The report detailed the significant financial impact on Oldham Council.

 

Question received from Councillor Malik:

 

“Can the relevant Cabinet member tell us how many children of key works and vulnerable children attended school and what is the picture across the borough to extending the offer to selected year groups from 1st June?”

 

Councillor Shah, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Covid-19 Response responded that Oldham’s schools and colleges had continued to open throughout the Covid period catering for vulnerable pupils and the children and young people of key workers.  Alongside this, home learning had been provided for those not attending school or college.  The exact numbers of vulnerable pupils and children and young people of key workers who attended varied on a daily basis according to shift patterns but built towards 1100 pupils before the wider reopening of primary schools started to take place on 1st June 2020 and had increased further since then as schools widened their opening arrangements.  Primary schools started their wider reopening from 1st June 2020 with all schools increasing the number of children attending.  This had also seen the number of key worker children attending continuing to increase since 1st June 2020.  The DfE guidance for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Update on Actions from Council pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Legal Services which informed members of actions that had been taken following previous Council meetings and provided feedback on issues raised at those meetings.

 

RESOLVED that the actions regarding motions and actions from previous Council meetings be agreed and the correspondence and update provided be noted.

13.

Members Allowances - Transport pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Legal Services related to a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) of £4,079 payment for members who undertook duties on the Greater Manchester Transport Committee.  Members were reminded the Council in July 2019 decided to continue the SRA pending a final decision.

 

It had been ascertained that the Combined Authority could not pay remuneration and the decision as to whether an SRA was to be paid for these duties was a matter for the districts to determine.  Across Greater Manchester, Rochdale, Tameside, Manchester, Salford and Bury were paying the SA.  Stockport, Trafford and Bolton were not paying.  The SRA was subject to review in Wigan. 

 

Oldham Council had two members who are members of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee. 

 

It was a matter for members to determine, given the responsibilities of the Committee, whether the SRA should continue to be paid.

 

On being put to the vote, 51 votes were cast in FAVOUR of the MOTION and 0 votes were cast AGAINST with 1 ABSTENTION.

 

RESOLVED that the Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) payment for members undertaking duties on the Greater Manchester Transport Committee be continued.

 

NOTE:  Councillor Ur-Rehman declared a pecuniary interest at this item by virtue of his appointment to the Greater Manchester Transport Committee.  Councillor Ur-Rehman left the meeting during this item and took no part in the discussion or vote thereon.

14.

Annual Reports 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 21 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which provided individual Councillor Annual Reports for 2019/20.

 

As part of strengthened accountability, every Councillor was required to produce a report each year and the reports were published on the Oldham Council web-site.

 

RESOLVED that the annual reports be noted.

15.

Review of Whistleblowing Policy pdf icon PDF 869 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which outline the review of the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy. 

 

The Whistleblowing Policy provided the means for disclosures to be reported, investigated and actioned.  In addition, the policy outlined the statutory protection afforded by the Public Disclosure Act 1998 to employees who made a complaint which met the ‘public interest test’.  This provided employees with protection form any detriment in the workplace, including harassment, victimisation or dismissal.

 

The review had been commissioned to ensure that the policy was robust and that complaints were managed, processed and actioned by the Council appropriately.  The purpose of the review was to:

·         Improve policy accessibility for employees to promote a culture of openness and transparency where employees feel able to report concerns;

·         Provide employee assurance that the council will investigate and act upon matters appropriately and on a timely basis;

·         Provide clear contact points for employees to submit a whistleblowing complaint to;

·         Provide clarity as to what constitutes a whistleblowing complaint as defined in the context of the Public Disclosure Act (1998) and the Employment Rights Act 1996;

·         Provide examples of complaints which may constitute a whilst blow for employee reference;

·         Include clarity in terms of what information will / can be shared with the complainant; and

·         Provide a clear process (with timeframes) by which the Council will investigate whistleblowing complaints.

 

The format and layout of the policy had been significantly changed to make it more accessible.  The key content was outlined with changes and additional information highlighted.  Extensive consultation had been undertaken.

 

RESOLVED that the Whistleblowing Policy be approved and adopted.