In accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 10 to consider Motions on notice from Members. Motions must be received in writing or by email to the Monitoring Officer by 12pm (Noon) twelve clear working days before the meeting.
Proposed by Councillor P Windley
- Litter picking and street cleansing is within the remit of the District Council.
- Over the years, the frequency of litter picking and street cleansing in North East Derbyshire has declined.
- Because of this decline, Volunteers, Parish and Town Councils have been forced to take action themselves to try to combat the scourge of litter throughout the district.
- For the District Council to produce a plan on how to improve street cleansing and properly resource litter picking.
- To start a campaign to combat litter throughout North East Derbyshire.
Proposed by Councillor D Hancock
Council notes the introduction of Voter Identification for the Local Elections on 4th May 2023.
The Elections Act 2022 will require voters to present an approved form of Photo ID at a polling station in order to vote. Acceptable ID includes passports, driving licenses, older persons bus passes and Voter Authority Certificates for those without an existing valid ID.
Council notes there is little evidence that voter fraud is a systemic issue in UK elections:
- In the 2019 General, Local, European and Mayoral Elections only 4 convictions resulting from allegations of in-person voter fraud – out of 58 million votes cast.
- In the 2021 Local Elections just one caution for election fraud was issued by the police.
Council fully agrees with the comments made by the Electoral Commission to the Government in September 2022 advising that the new rules could not “be delivered in a way which is fully secure, accessible and workable”, pointing out that 7.5% of voters do not currently hold an acceptable form of ID and over 1000 voters were denied the opportunity to vote during Voter ID trials in the 2018 and 2019 Local Elections.
Council is deeply concerned that the requirement to provide Photo ID will present a significant barrier for thousands of residents in North East Derbyshire to exercise their right to vote.
Council notes the acceptable forms of ID listed by the Government are weighted towards more affluent and older voters who are more likely to possess passports, driving licenses, older persons bus passes and senior PASS cards. Forms of photo ID most likely to be held by younger people (such as young persons railcards) have been excluded.
Council believes the rushed and last-minute timeframe in which this legislation has been enacted has put an enormous strain on staff and resources at North East Derbyshire District Council to communicate the new rules to voters, provide Voter Authority Certificates to thousands of local residents and training polling station staff in the lead up to the 2023 Local Elections.
Council instructs the Managing Director, the Leader of the Council and other group leaders to write to the Cabinet Office to express the Council’s complete opposition about the damaging effect on democracy that mandatory Voter ID will have in UK elections and to demand that this section of the new legislation is repealed immediately.
Proposed by Councillor R Shipman
One group can currently hold all committee chairs when there is a simple majority elected on the Council.
No party should have all the chair positions on every committee, and that they should be distributed on a fair basis.
To introduce a system to appoint committee chairs on the basis of proportionality of all elected members.
To enshrine the new system in the Councils constitution.
See attached example;
Chairs of Standing Committees = 7 (4 Scrutiny, Planning, Licensing and Standards)
If all 4 parties are included, this is:
Conservative - 26/53 x 7 = 3.43 rounded down to 3
Labour – 18/53 x 7 = 2.38 rounded down to 2
Independents – 6/53 x 7 = 0.79 rounded up to 1
Lib Dems – 3/53 x 7 = 0.4 rounded up to 1
It will be the same figures for Vice Chairs.
Members considered a motion submitted by Councillor P Windley, which called on the Council to produce a plan on how to improve and properly resource litter picking. It also called on the Council to campaign against and combat litter across the District. The full text of Councillor P Windley’s Motion, set out as Motion ‘A’, was included on the agenda for the meeting.
The Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Councillor C Cupit, responded to the Motion. She praised the work of the Council’s Streetscene service and its excellent performance in carrying out Street Cleaning and Litter Picking across the District. The Council had maintained the frequency of this work, not reduced it. The Deputy Leader also highlighted the Council’s efforts to discourage littering and the enforcement action which had been against offenders. This included an increase in the fixed penalty amount for littering from £80 to £150.
Councillors H Liggett, A Foster, A Dale and, M Foster supported these views. They praised the work of Streetscene team and welcomed the added support provided by local people who wanted to help keep their communities clean.
Councillors N Barker, A Cooper, M Jones, and D Hancock supported the Motion. They stressed their support for Streetscene service and argued that the Council’s litter picking services would need to be properly resourced in order to tackle the ongoing problem.
Councillor P Windley used her right of reply to stress that the motion was not a criticism of Streetscene but emphasised that as littering had increased the problem would need to be properly addressed.
Councillor D Hancock seconded the Motion. He made clear that it was not a criticism of Streetscene, but recognition that more resources would be required in order to tackle the problem.
At the conclusion of the discussion the Motion was put to the vote and defeated.
Members considered a motion submitted by Councillor D Hancock which called on the Managing Director, the Leader of the Council and other Group Leaders to express the Council’s opposition to the introduction of Photo Identification for the Local Elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. The full text of Councillor D Hancock’s Motion, set out as Motion ‘B’, was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillor D Hancock moved the Motion. He raised concerns over the inconsistencies over what form of Photo ID could be used and how this might disadvantage younger people. He questioned whether the new rules were required, as most electoral fraud involved postal votes, which would not require Photo ID.
Councillor R Shipman seconded the Motion but reserved his right to speak.
Councillors S Cornwell and N Barker supported the Motion. They expressed their concern that the Photo Identification might make it more difficult for people to vote at polling stations. Concern was also expressed about the impact on polling station staff, if those seeking to vote without the necessary Photo Identification had to be turned away.
The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Council Services, Councillor M Foster, and the Leader of the Council, Councillor A Dale, made clear that they would not support the Motion. They highlighted the wide variety of easily obtainable forms of Photo Identification that could be used and the extensive national and local communications campaigns to explain the new arrangements. They emphasised that the new rules would help to ensure that the electoral process remained free and fair, by preventing voter fraud at polling stations. Councillor R Hall also indicated that he also would not support the Motion for similar reasons.
Councillor R Shipman reiterated the concerns about the potential impact on staff if they were forced to turn away voters who did not have the correct Photo ID. The Monitoring Officer explained what action would be taken to help manage this.
Councillor D Hancock exercised his right of reply. He contended that there may be fewer Police available to cope with possible disorder. The Chair of the Council, Councillor D Ruff, argued that the Police were aware of the issues and able to respond to them.
At the conclusion of the debate the Motion was put to the vote and was defeated.
Members considered a motion submitted by Councillor R Shipman which called for the Chairs and Vice Chairs of Council Committees to be appointed on the basis of political proportionality between the different groups and for this requirement to be included in the Constitution of the Council. The full text of Councillor R Shipman’s motion, set out as Motion ‘C’, was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillor R Shipman moved the Motion. He informed Members that he wanted to make the system fairer and encourage cross-Party working within Committees. He had worked with the Monitoring Officer to create an example of a proportionate system.
Councillor D Hancock seconded the motion but reserved his right to speak.
Councillors N Barker, R Hall, A Dale, M Foster and K Gillott spoke against the motion. Councillors N Barker, A Dale, M Foster and K Gillott argued that while they had some sympathy for the Motion, it would not be right to restrict the ability of a controlling group to administer the Council. Councillor R Hall raised concerns about whether such changes to the Constitution should be made at a meeting of Council, without first receiving appropriate review and scrutiny. Councillor M Thacker MBE JP contended that although Vice Chairs and Chairs should not necessarily be from the controlling group, the decision on this should not be taken until after the election.
Councillor D Hancock argued that it was important that appointments to Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Council’s Committees be made on a politically proportional basis and that this principle should be set out in the Constitution.
Councillor R Shipman used his right of reply to reiterate that this would be a fair approach for all groups which should be adopted as part of the Constitution.
At the conclusion of the debate the Motion was put to the vote and was defeated.