Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Louise McGeoch Tel 01835 825005  email  lmcgeoch@scotborders.gov.uk

Link: link to Live Stream

Items
No. Item

1.

Convener's Remarks.

Minutes:

1.1       The Convener congratulated the following:-

 

(a)     Fiona Henderson School of Dance who won ‘Dance School of the Year’ Award which was a UK wide competition;

(b)     Jim Clark Motorsport Museum was a runner up at the SPACES Awards on 10 November in the Small Project Category;

(c)     Councillor Jardine won the Resilience and Recovery category for his work during the Covid pandemic at the LGIU & CCLA Councillor Awards, Councillor Chapman was highly commended in the New Councillor category for his work with young people.  Councillor S. Scott had been nominated for the Lifetime contribution; and

(d)     Scottish Borders Council had won the Client of the Year category at the Learning Places Scotland Awards 2021, having been nominated by BAM, the main contractor for the scheme.

DECISION

AGREED that congratulations be passed to those concerned.

 

1.2       With reference to paragraph 1.4 of the Minute of 23 September 2021, the Chief Executive updated Members on the progress of Andrew Webster QC.  It had been hoped that his investigation would have been completed.  However, despite having interviewed a number of parents, employees and former employees and received a number of written submissions further work was needed.  The Chief Executive read out a letter from Mr Webster explaining his position.  The expected completion date was now the end of January 2022 and given the importance of the subject the Chief Executive advised that there would need to be additional special meetings of Council held to deal with the report.  In response to a question from Councillor McAteer she confirmed that the terms of reference for Mr Webster remained unchanged.

 

DECISION

NOTED the position.

 

2.

Minute pdf icon PDF 302 KB

Consider Minute of Scottish Borders Council held on 28 October 2021 for approval and signing by the Convener.  (Copy attached.)

 

Minutes:

The Minute of the Meeting held on 28 October 2021 was considered. 

 

DECISION

AGREED that the Minute be approved and signed by the Convener.

 

3.

Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 5 KB

Consider Minutes of the following Committees:-

 

(a)     Local Review Body                                            13 September 2021

(b)     Cheviot Area Partnership                                   22 September 2021

(c)     Tweeddale Area Partnership                             27 September 2021

(d)     Pension Board                                                    28 September 2021

(e)     Hawick Common Good Fund                             4 October 2021

(f)      Executive                                                            5 October 2021

(g)     Audit and Scrutiny                                              5 October 2021

(h)     Chambers Institution Trust                                 6 October 2021

(i)      Pension Fund Committee                                  20 October 2021

(j)      Pension Fund Board                                          20 October 2021

(k)     Audit and Scrutiny                                              21 October 2021

(l)      Tweeddale Area Partnership                             2 November 2021

 

(Please see separate Supplement containing the public Committee Minutes.)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the following Committees had been circulated:-

Local Review Body                                   13 September 2021

Cheviot Area Partnership                          22 September 2021

Tweeddale Area Partnership                    27 September 2021

Pension Board                                          28 September 2021

Hawick Common Good Fund                   4 October 2021

Executive                                                  5 October 2021

Audit and Scrutiny                                    5 October 2021

Chambers Institution Trust                        6 October 2021

Pension Fund Committee                         20 October 2021

Pension Fund Board                                 20 October 2021

Audit and Scrutiny                                    21 October 2021

Tweeddale Area Partnership                    2 November 2021

        

DECISION

APPROVED the Minutes listed above.

 

4.

Appointment of Leader

Consider appointment of Leader.

Minutes:

Following the resignation of Councillor Haslam as Leader of the Council, Councillor Mountford, seconded by Councillor Aitchison, moved that Councillor Rowley be appointed as Leader of the Council and this was unanimously agreed.  Councillors Mountford, Aitchison, Bell, Robson, H. Scott and the Convener all thanked Councillor Haslam for her work as Leader and spoke in support of the appointment of Councillor Rowley.  Councillor Rowley thanked Council for his appointment as Leader and paid tribute to Councillor Haslam.  He advised that any changes to appointments resulting from his appointment would be brought to Council at the meeting on 16 December.

 

DECISION

AGREED that Councillor Rowley be appointed as Leader of the Council with immediate effect.

 

5.

Bridge Homes LLP Annual Accounts to 31 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 603 KB

Consider audited accounts in respect of Bridge Homes LLP for the period to 31 March 2021.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

With reference to paragraph 5 of the Minute of 28 October 2021, there had been circulated copies of the final accounts in respect of Bridge Homes LLP which had now been signed off by the auditors, KPMG.  An unqualified Audit opinion had been received and the Audit and Scrutiny Committee had also reviewed the accounts and had nothing to add.

 

DECISION

AGREED to approve the audited accounts for the year to 31 March 29021 in respect of Bridge Homes LLP.

 

6.

Local Development Plan - Development Plan Scheme 2021 pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Consider report by Director of Infrastructure and Environment.  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There had been circulated copies of a report by the Director Infrastructure and Environment providing the annual update of the Development Plan Scheme.  The report explained that publishing a Development Plan Scheme annually was a statutory duty and it must include a participation statement setting out how, when and with whom the Council would consult on the various Local Development Plan stages.  The proposed Development Plan Scheme 2021, which was contained in Appendix 1 to the report, had been prepared to provide information on the development plan process. It set out the latest position on the Council’s development plans.  Once approved the Plan would be sent to Scottish Ministers.  Members noted the significant number of consultation responses which had been received and the complexity of dealing with these during the pandemic.  Councillor Rowley proposed that the second recommendation be amended to include consultation with the Executive Member and this was unanimously accepted.  It was noted that the next report would be brought to Council in February 2022.

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

 

(a)     approve the proposed Development Plan Scheme 2021, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report , for publication, deposit and copying to Scottish Ministers, and;

 

(b)     authorise the Director Infrastructure and Environment, in consultation with the Executive Member for Enhancing the Built Environment and Natural Heritage, to make any necessary minor editing and design changes to the Development Plan Scheme prior to publication.

 

7.

Tweedbank Care Village pdf icon PDF 821 KB

Consider report by Chief Officer Health & Social Care Integration.  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1       There had been circulated copies of a report by the Chief Officer Health and Social Care Integration presenting the Outline Business Case for change and seeking approval to progress the innovative Care Village development at Tweedbank, Central Borders, as the first Borders Care Village.  The report explained that in 2020, Senior Managers and Elected Members visited and assessed new visions for care facilities, including the Hogeweyk development in the Netherlands.  The Council then commenced design works for Care Villages in Tweedbank and Hawick and the Revenue and Capital Investment Plan approved in March 2020 included a £22.679m allocation for “new residential care provision” for Tweedbank and Hawick.  Consultations and work undertaken by the Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) concluded that a different model of care was required.  The concept of the Care Village model supported unique needs, lifestyles and personal preferences for living, care and well-being for people living mainly with severe dementia and frailty.  In addition, a model that could also adapt and meet specific local demand for a range of residential care that included: respite, intermediate, nursing and specialist care.  The Care Inspectorate strongly encouraged innovation and diversity in future care provision and wished to encourage care providers and commissioners to provide care on a smaller unit scale.  Following the lessons learned with regards infrastructure during the Covid 19 Pandemic it was expected that further more stringent demands on the fabric of residential care provision, to meet infection control measures would be expected.  The Care Village concept would ensure a building which met the highest standards of infection control in line with new guidance.  Additionally there was a pressing need to address and improve the current estate to meet these expected demands.  Work had been ongoing to identify suitable sites for the two new Care Villages.  A site had recently been agreed within the Hawick area which was the focus of a separate paper and Outline Business Case.  A possible site had also been identified and to progress an Outline business case for the inclusion of a Care Village within the Tweedbank site.

 

7.2       This Tweedbank site was central within the Borders and offered the correct range of opportunities, partnerships resources and delivery of outcomes required for such a provision.  The Care Village would form part of the overall expansion of Tweedbank in line with the approved Supplementary Planning Guidance including private, social and assisted living housing, neighbourhood centre and business zones.  The Care Village itself would complement the wider developments and also contain an element of community based spaces and functions at the centre of the Village to ensure that the ethos of the village being at the heart of thriving residential area was delivered.  The key factors included: location, strategic fit with the capital master plan, with very close proximity to the Borders General Hospital, (BGH).  This proposal also provided further opportunities to support additional developments with two third sector partners.  Aberlour were a well-respected provider for children’s services and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Social Work Residential Charging Policy pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Consider report by Director Social Work and Practice.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

8.1       There had been circulated copies of a report by the Director of Social Work and Practice detailing the public feedback from the recent consultation and proposed changes to the Charging Policy for Non-Residential and Residential Care Services.   The report explained that each year, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) produced guidance on the principles that underpinned local authority charging policies. The COSLA Guidance was subject to revision annually or as policy developed. As a result, Scottish Borders Council reviewed its non-residential care charging policy every year. Income generated by contributions people made through the charging policy enabled the council to continue providing a service to people who had an assessed need and ensured the development and delivery of high quality services.  There was a range of changes consulted on and a complete rewrite of the actual policy was proposed to ensure the policy was more accessible and easy to read. A public consultation, which concluded on the 17 October 2021, explored how people viewed proposed changes. These changes intended to improve equity in respect of Financial Assessments, Extra Care Housing Charges and Sheltered Housing Charges.  The consultation also sought views on the council’s proposal to increase the level of payment people received for Direct Payment and Short Breaks Rates and addressed the linking of the cost of Meals at Home (Frozen Meals) charges to the national excel contract.  The consultation covered the agreement reached by council last year, to apply an annual 5% increase to the taper rate. The proposal for financial year 2022/23 was to move from 70% to 75%.  The consultation had been advertised across multiple channels and media, as outlined in appendix 1 to the report, and ran from 17/09/2021 to 17/10/2021. Postal returns were accepted until 20/10/21. There was a comprehensive range of activity resulting in 80 individuals engaging in the consultation process and 3 organisational responses. 

 

8.2       Councillor Thornton-Nicol, seconded by Councillor H. Anderson, proposed as an amendment that recommendation (g) be reworded to read “a 5% increase in the taper rate for 2022/23 and a 5% annual increase until the taper rate reaches 90%”.  Councillor Thornton-Nicol spoke in support of her proposal.

 

8.3       Councillor Robson, seconded by Councillor Chapman, proposed a further amendment to reword recommendation (g) to read “a 5% increase in the taper rate for 2022/23” which would leave the taper rate at 75%.  Councillor Robson spoke in support of his amendment.

 

8.4       In light of this second amendment, Councillor Bell requested an adjournment to allow his group to consider their position.  The Convener agreed to this and adjourned the meeting for 15 minutes.  When the meeting recommenced Councillor Thornton-Nicol withdrew her amendment advising that the decision should be left until the next Council term.  Following that withdrawal Councillor Tatler, seconded by Councillor Haslam, moved that the 90% amendment be reinstated and recommendation (g) duly amended.

 

VOTE

 

A vote was then taken on the Motion by Councillor Tatler and the amendment by Councillor Robson as follows:-

 

Motion             -           18 votes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Chambers Institution Trust Membership pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Consider report by Director Finance and Corporate Governance.  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

With reference to paragraph 9 of the Minute of 27 May 2021, there had been circulated copies of a report by the Director of Finance and Corporate Governance which had been brought in response to the motion agreed at Council on 27 May 2021 which called upon Officers to bring a report to Council regarding the Membership of the Chambers Institution Trust (CIT). That motion stated:-

 

“Scottish Borders Council requests that the Chief Executive brings a report to Council setting out the options and implications of including additional external members in the Chambers Institution Trust to supplement the existing governance arrangements.”

 

Since that time an analysis of the options for adding lay trustees to the current Membership of the Trust had been undertaken. The history of the Trust had been considered as has the range of Counsel’s Opinions which had been obtained by the Council over a number of years.  Another Opinion of Senior Counsel was obtained to seek further clarity on certain issues.  That Opinion was appended to the report.  It was noted that those Counsel’s Opinions all agreed that lay individuals could not be Property Owning Trustees.  By necessity this would mean that appointing such lay trustees would add an additional layer to the current make-up of the Trust and would therefore add a level of complication.  Further an examination of the possible role for such Lay Trustees identified that there was little decision making in which they could appropriately engage given they would be neither vested in the property, nor vested in the statutory authority to act as library or museum authority.  It was therefore proposed that the Council leave the position as it was and did not appoint lay Trustees to the CIT.  It also recommended that a public engagement opportunity should be considered.  Councillor Bell and Councillor Tatler as joint Chairmen of the Trust indicated their support for the recommendation to leave the membership of the Trust unchanged.

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

 

(a)     leave the membership of the Trustees to the Chambers Institution Trust unchanged and not to appoint lay trustees; and

 

(b)     Invite the Chambers Institution Trustees to consider how best to engage with stakeholders in Peeblesshire about the Chambers Institution.

 

MEMBER

Councillor Linehan re-joined the meeting during consideration of the above item.

 

10.

South of Scotland Regional Economic Strategy Delivery Plan pdf icon PDF 340 KB

Consider report by Director Resilient Communities.  (Copy attached.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

With reference to paragraph 5 of the Minute of 23 September 2021, there had been circulated copies of a report by the Director of Resilient Communities seeking the endorsement of the Delivery Plan for the South of Scotland Regional Economic Strategy, as contained in Appendix 1 to the report, which had been produced by the South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership.  The Partnership comprised members of Scottish Borders Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, and South of Scotland Enterprise, together with members from business, communities, social enterprise, third sector, registered social landlords, young people and representatives from colleges, universities and public bodies.  The Chair of the Partnership rotated annually (based on financial years) between Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council.  The current Chair of the Partnership was Councillor Rowley.  Scottish Borders Council had been involved in every stage of the development of the Strategy and the Delivery Plan.  The Delivery Plan was agreed by the Partnership at its meeting on 5 November 2021.  The production of the Delivery Plan had involved a great deal of discussion and consultation with local, regional and national partners.  It was a three year ‘rolling’ Plan with short, medium and long term actions that the South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership would review annually.  The actions in the Plan were aligned with the vision and priorities within the Strategy.  They were grouped according to the main themes in the Strategy and there were some cross cutting actions.  The main organisations were identified for taking forward each action.  There was a section in the Plan about the Measurement Framework.  The Partnership had decided to take its time in developing this Framework to ensure that relevant outcome indicators were produced that could relate to the Strategy’s priorities.  Members welcomed the delivery plan.

 

DECISION

AGREED to:-

 

(a)     endorse the South of Scotland Regional Economic Strategy Delivery Plan as contained in Appendix 1 to the report: and

 

(b)     receive progress reports about the implementation of the Strategy and Delivery Plan, including the Measurement Framework.

 

11.

Motion by Councillor Haslam

Consider Motion by Councillor Haslam in following terms:-

 

“That this council recognises the 16 days of action to support women and girls who are victims of violence.  3 in 5 women in Scotland have suffered sexual harassment or assault in the past, with over two thirds saying that they don’t feel safe walking at night.  As a council we stand with these women and girls and call for more support, recognition and funding from all Governments to prevent this violence, and support women who have been victims of violence.  We recognise the work of Borders Rape Crisis Centre, and their new project launching this week, Sunrise - a support service for women 18+ who have experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives in the Scottish Borders.  We must do more, we can do more.”

Minutes:

11.1     Councillor Haslam, seconded by Councillor H. Scott, moved approval of the Motion as detailed on the agenda in the following terms:-

 

“That this Council recognises the 16 days of action to support women and girls who are victims of violence.  3 in 5 women in Scotland have suffered sexual harassment or assault in the past, with over two thirds saying that they don’t feel safe walking at night.  As a Council we stand with these women and girls and call for more support, recognition and funding from all Governments to prevent this violence, and support women who have been victims of violence.  We recognise the work of Borders Rape Crisis Centre, and their new project launching this week, Sunrise - a support service for women 18+ who have experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives in the Scottish Borders.  We must do more, we can do more.”

 

Councillors Haslam and Scott spoke in support of the Motion.

 

11.2     Councillor H. Anderson proposed that the final sentence be amended to read “This Council must do more, this Council can do more.” She spoke in support of her amendment which was accepted by Councillor Haslam.  The Motion as amended was unanimously accepted.

 

DECISION

AGREED to approve the Motion above as amended.

 

12.

Motion by Councillor H. Scott

Consider Motion by Councillor H. Scott in the following terms:-

 

“That this Council consults with secondary pupils and staff in the Scottish Borders, on proposals to install gender neutral toilets in the new Galashiels Community Campus, and Peebles High School, the aim to learn and implement lessons for the improvement of those arrangements from those schools and campuses where they are currently in use.”

Minutes:

Councillor H. Scott, seconded by Councillor Cochrane, moved approval of the Motion as detailed on the agenda in the following terms:-

 

“That this Council consults with secondary pupils and staff in the Scottish Borders, on proposals to install gender neutral toilets in the new Galashiels Community Campus, and Peebles High School, the aim to learn and implement lessons for the improvement of those arrangements from those schools and campuses where they are currently in use.”

 

Councillors Scott and Cochrane spoke in support of the Motion which was unanimously accepted.

 

DECISION

AGREED to approve the Motion as detailed above.

 

13.

Open Questions pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The questions submitted by Councillors Paterson, H. Scott and Robson were answered. 

 

DECISION

NOTED the replies as detailed in Appendix I to this Minute.

 

14.

Private Business

Before proceeding with the private business, the following motion should be approved:-

 

“That under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the relevant paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the aforementioned Act.”

Minutes:

DECISION

AGREED under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 to exclude the public from the meeting during consideration of the business detailed in  Appendix II to this Minute on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 6, 8 and 9 of Part I of Schedule 7A to the Act.

 

               SUMMARY OF PRIVATE BUSINESS

 

15.

Minute

Consider private Section of Minute of Scottish Borders Council held on 28 October 2021.  (Copy attached.)

Minutes:

The private section of the Council Minute of 28 October 2021 was approved. 

16.

Committee Minutes

(a)     Hawick Common Good Fund                             4 October 2021

(b)     Executive                                                            5 October 2021

(c)     Chambers Institution Trust                                 6 October 2021

(d)     Pension Fund Committee                                  20 October 2021

 

(Please see separate Supplement containing private Committee Minutes.)

Minutes:

The private sections of the Committee Minutes as detailed in paragraph3 of this Minute were approved.

 

 

CONTACT US

Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800

Email:

For more Contact Details