Dumfries and Galloway Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 25 September 2013
Time:
2.00pm
Place:
Council Offices, English Street, Dumfries

Attendance Details

Members:
Ivor A Hyslop (Leader)-Lochar
Brian Collins (Depute Leader)-Castle Douglas and Glenkens
Graham Bell-North West Dumfries
Ian Blake-Abbey
Richard Brodie-Annandale South
Ian Carruthers-Annandale South
Karen Carruthers-Annandale East and Eskdale
Finlay Carson-Castle Douglas and Glenkens
Rob Davidson-Abbey
Jim H Dempster-Mid and Upper Nithsdale
Iain Dick-Stranraer and North Rhins
Peter Diggle-Annandale North
Archie Dryburgh-Annandale East and Eskdale
Gillian Dykes-Mid and Upper Nithsdale
Andy Ferguson-North West Dumfries
Grahame Forster-Wigtown West
Alistair Geddes-Mid Galloway
Patsy Gilroy-Dee
Jack Groom-Nith
Yen Hongmei Jin-Lochar
Jeff Leaver-Lochar
Gail Macgregor-Annandale North
Jane S Maitland-Dee
Denis R Male-Annandale East and Eskdale
John Martin-Nith
Tom A McAughtrie-Abbey
Jim McClung-Wigtown West
Jim McColm-Mid Galloway
Marion McCutcheon-Stranraer and North Rhins
David J McKie-North West Dumfries
Ronnie Nicholson-North West Dumfries
Graham Nicol-Mid Galloway
Ronnie E Ogilvie-Annandale South
Craig Peacock-Annandale East and Eskdale
George N Prentice-Castle Douglas and Glenkens
Willie Scobie-Stranraer and North Rhins
Colin Smyth-Nith
Davie Stitt-Abbey
John Syme-Mid and Upper Nithsdale
Graeme Tait-Annandale North
Stephen Thompson-Annandale North
Ted Thompson-Lochar
Roberta Tuckfield-Wigtown West
Alastair Witts-Nith
Andrew S Wood-Mid and Upper Nithsdale
Apologies:
Sean W Marshall - Annandale South
Colin Wyper - Dee
Item Number Item/Description Action
PUBLIC
1 SEDERUNT AND APOLOGIES

45 Members present, 2 apologies

 
2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

David Stitt declared an interest in Item 4 - Notice of Motion - Royal Mail by virtue of the fact that he was an employee and left the meeting during consideration of this item.

 
3 PROPORTIONALITY, COMMITTEE ARRANGEMENTS AND SENIOR MEMBER APPOINTMENTS - REPORT BY DIRECTOR CHIEF EXECUTIVE SERVICE

PROCEDURE - The Leader tabled a proposal by the Administration Group as being:-

Chair of Planning, Housing & Environment Services - Jim McClung
Vice Chair of Planning, Housing & Environment Services - Finlay Carson

Vice Chair of Social Work Services - Ian Blake

Vice Chair of Audit and Risk Management - an Independent Member

Chair of Scrutiny and Performance - a Labour Member

Wigtown Area Committee Chairman - Graham Nicol

Provost of Dumfries and Nithsdale - the Area Committee Chairman

Proposal to establish an Ad Hoc Sub Committee - the remit of which will be to examine the processes in respect of a Business Bureau, the development of the role of Constructive Opposition, Member involvement in the budget process and other relevant topics to be agreed.

COSLA representatives - Labour (1) and Independent (1)

Strategic Partnership Representatives - Labour (1) and Independent (1)
 

ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING - The meeting adjourned at 2.15pm to consider the tabled proposals by the Administration Group and re-convened at 2.45pm with 44 Members present being:-

 

Ivor A Hyslop, Brian Collins, Graham Bell, Ian Blake, Richard Brodie, Ian Carruthers, Karen Carruthers, Finlay Carson, Rob Davidson, Jim Dempster, Iain Dick, Peter Diggle,  Archie Dryburgh, Gillian Dykes, Andy Ferguson, Grahame Forster, Alistair Geddes, Patsy Gilroy, Jack Groom, Yen Hongmei Jin, Jeff Leaver, Tom McAughtrie, Jim McClung, Jim McColm, Marion McCutcheon, Gail Macgregor, David J McKie, Jane S Maitland, Denis R Male, John Martin Ronnie Nicholson, Graham Nicol, Ronnie Ogilvie, Craig Peacock, George N Prentice, Willie Scobie, Colin Smyth, David Stitt, John Syme, Graeme Tait, Stephen Thompson, Ted Thompson, Roberta Tuckfield and Alastair Witts

 

VOTE

 

3.1     MOTION by RONNIE NICHOLSON seconded by IAN CARRUTHERS that the item be deferred to a future meeting of the Full Council to be held no later than one week from today's meeting

 

3.2    AMENDMENT by IVOR A HYSLOP seconded by BRIAN COLLINS  that the proposal tabled by the Administration Group be considered at this meeting 

 

3.3     On a Vote taken by roll call, Members voted as follows:-

 

Motion - 25 votes being:-

Graham Bell, Richard Brodie, Ian Carruthers, Karen Carruthers, Jim Dempster, Peter Diggle, Archie Dryburgh, Grahame Forster, Jack Groom, Jeff Leaver, Tom McAughtrie, Marion McCutcheon, David J McKie, John Martin, Ronnie Nicholson, Ronnie Ogilvie, Craig Peacock, George N Prentice, Willie Scobie, Colin Smyth, David Stitt, John Syme, Graeme Tait, Ted Thompson, Roberta Tuckfield

 

Amendment - 19 votes being:-

Ivor A Hyslop, Brian Collins, Ian Blake, Finlay Carson, Rob Davidson, Iain Dick, Gillian Dykes, Andy Ferguson, Alistair Geddes, Patsy Gilroy, Yen Hongmei Jin, Jim McClung, Jim McColm, Gail Macgregor, Jane S Maitland, Denis R Male, Graham Nicol, Stephen Thompson, Alastair Witts

 

Decision

 

AGREED the item be considered at a future meeting of the Full Council to be held no later than one week from today's meeting

 

MEMBER - David Stitt declared an interest in the following item of business and left the meeting - 43 Members present

 

MEMBERS - Jack Groom and Yen Hongmei Jin left the meeting - 41 Members present

Director Chief Executive Service

4 NOTICE OF MOTION - ROYAL MAIL - REPORT BY DIRECTOR CHIEF EXECUTIVE SERVICE

VOTE

 

3.1     MOTION by TED THOMPSON seconded by JEFF LEAVER that this Council agrees that the Royal Mail should remain in the public sector and remit the Leader to write to the Prime Minister expressing this Council's opposition to the privatisation of this essential public service

 

3.2     AMENDMENT by JANE MAITLAND seconded by RICHARD BRODIE that this Council notes the intention to privatise the Royal Mail.

 

3.3     On a vote taken by roll call, Members voted as follows:-

 

Motion - 23 votes being:-

Rob Davidson, Jim Dempster, Iain Dick, Archie Dryburgh, Andy Ferguson, Grahame Forster, Alistair Geddes, Jeff Leaver, Tom McAughtrie, Jim McClung, Jim McColm, Marion McCutcheon, David J McKie, John Martin, Ronnie Nicholson, Ronnie Ogilvie, Craig Peacock, Willie Scobie, Colin Smyth, John Syme, Stephen Thompson, Ted Thompson and Alastair Witts

 

Amendment - 18 votes being:-

Ivor A Hyslop, Brian Collins, Graham Bell, Ian Blake, Richard Brodie, Ian Carruthers, Karen Carruthers, Finlay Carson, Peter Diggle, Gillian Dykes, Patsy Gilroy, Gail Macgregor, Jane S Maitland, Denis R Male, Graham Nicol, George N prentice, Graeme Tait and Roberta Tuckfield

 

Decision

 

NOTED that this Council agreed that the Royal Mail should remain in the public sector and REMITTED the Leader to write to the Prime Minister expressing this Council's opposition to the privatisation of this essential public service

 

MEMBER - David Stitt re-entered the meeting - 42 Members present

Policy and Performance Advisor - Donna

5 WELFARE REFORM AND REGISTERED SOCIAL LANDLORDS' ARREARS RECOVERY - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED

 

5.1      that local RSLs had advised that they would consider the use of evictions as an absolute last resort and would provide advice and support in relation to welfare advice and debt management and endeavour to agree realistic payment plans;

 

5.2     that RSLs, along with private landlords and creditors (mortgage holder) were legally required to advise the Council when they started taking court action that could result in making someone homeless in terms of Section 11 of the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003;

 

5.3     that under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, as amended by Housing (Scotland) Act 2010, there was now a duty placed on all RSLs to undertake Pre Action Requirements that mean certain statutory steps have to be followed before even serving a Notice, this requirement having come into force in August 2012.

 

5.4     that RSLs had reviewed their staffing structures to increase availability of advice and support services to mitigate potential arrears and subsequent evictions, which was underpinned by the statutory duty placed on RSLs in Scotland to avoid repossessions and work collaboratively to maintain tenancies;

 

5.5     that at the Welfare Reform Sub Committee on 6 September 2013, DGHP and Loreburn had given a joint presentation to Members on the impact of Welfare Reform and arising from the discussion, they had been asked to review the communications that they had with tenants falling into arrears and both RSLs agreed to this undertaking. To this end, DGHP confirmed that they were reviewing all information, including arrears letters, with assistance from a tenants’ panel;

 

5.6      RE-AFFIRMED the decision of the ad hoc Sub Committee Welfare Reform in considering the wider impact of welfare reform, to encourage RSLs to retain tenancies and to manage rent arrears, APPRECIATING that, while the Council opposed the principle of eviction because of arrears occurring as a result of the, so-called, Bedroom Tax, it did not have the power to require RSLs to adopt a no-evictions policy;

 

5.7      AGREED to re-affirm the decision of the ad hoc Sub Committee Welfare Reform at its meeting on 6 September 2013 that a letter be issued to the Clerk of the Public Petitions Committee re-iterating the Council's previous decision on lobbying for a change in legislation in relation to the repeal of Section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 as proposed by the Govan Law Centre and to re-affirm the Council's positin to the Scottish Government; and

 

5.8     NOTED operational arrangements were in place to convene a meeting between RSLs and Political Group Leaders.

Head of Strategic Housing & Welfare Reform & Revenue & Benefits

Action Details

ItemDetail
3 Action by Director Chief Executive Service - Committee arrangements and Senior Councillor positions agreed by full Councils 1 and 11 October 2013
4 Action by Policy and Performance Advisor - Donna - Agreed action implemented as directed
5 Action by Head of Strategic Housing & Welfare Reform & Revenue & Benefits - Completed - meeting with RSLs is in the process of being set up.