Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council House, Plymouth

Contact: Ross Jago  Head of Governance, Performance and Risk


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meetings held on 30 January 2023 as a correct record.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 30 January 2023 were agreed as an accurate record.


Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:


Ross Jago (Head of Governance, Performance and Risk) advised Members that the Monitoring Officer had agreed a dispensation in respect of the agenda item Revenue and Capital Budget and Proposed Council Tax Levels For 2023/24


The following declarations of interests were made by Councillors.




Minute Number



Councillor Haydon


Board Member of Plymouth Community Homes.


Councillor Stevens


Employed by Devon and Cornwall Police.



Councillor Pat Patel put forward a motion to suspend the Rules of Debate on the length of speeches of the Leader of the Council and the leader of the largest opposition political group in respect of the substantive motive in relation to the Revenue and Capital Budgets and Proposed Council Tax Levels for 2023/24. This was seconded by Councillor Eddie Rennie. This was passed:


For (53)

Councillors Bingley, Mrs Bowyer, Carlyle, Churchill, Darcy, Deacon, Drean, Finn, Harrison, Mrs Loveridge, Lugger, Dr Mahony, Partridge, Patel,  Mrs Pengelly, Riley, Shayer, Smith, Stoneman, Tofan, Wakeham, Ms Watkin, Mrs Aspinall, Briars-Delve, Coker, Dr Cree, Cresswell,  Dann, Evans OBE, Goslin, Haydon, Hendy, Holloway, Laing, Lowry, McDonald, Murphy, Noble, Penberthy, Reilly, Rennie, Stevens, Tippetts, Tuffin, Tuohy, McLay, Poyser, Wheeler, Mrs Beer, Hulme, Kelly, Nicholson and Singh.


Abstain (0)


Against (0)


Absent/Did Not Vote (2)

Councillors Allen and Mrs Bridgeman.



Questions by the Public

To receive questions from and provide answers to the public in relation to matters which are about something the council is responsible for or something that directly affects people in the city, in accordance with Part B, paragraph 11 of the Constitution.


Questions, of no longer than 50 words, can be submitted to the Democratic Support Unit, Plymouth City Council, Ballard House, West Hoe Road, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ, or email to Any questions must be received at least five complete working days before the meeting.

Additional documents:


There were two questions from member of the public:


The following question was submitted by Grace Strickland and answered by Councillor Charlotte Carlyle (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People):


Seven Special Educational Needs schools exist in Plymouth, also serving parts of South Hams and Cornwall. Economic growth means the numbers of places are at crisis point. Acute shortages from foundation year upward means pupils are offered residential places further afield. What are the council intentions to resolve this issue? 


Overall there are 2668 pupils with Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) in Plymouth. The majority of these pupils are educated in Plymouth mainstream schools who receive additional funding per pupil A number of pupils are also educated in early years settings and the post-16 providers such as Plymouth City College. 


There are seven special educational needs schools in Plymouth. The schools currently provide places for 748 pupils.  


The seven special schools are very largely at capacity and we foresee that we will need to expand this provision. We have commissioned an external evaluation and forecast of what provision will be needed for the coming ten years. We expect this report in late March and will then set out a strategy as to how to shape current and future provision to meet the forecast need. 


In the shorter term one of the special schools is due to increase its capacity by 16 places through the addition of two modular classrooms which are due to be installed towards the end of 2023. The funding for this has been allocated by Plymouth City Council from our national allocation for increasing the number of places for pupils with high needs.

The following question was submitted by Mr Mike Sheaff and answered by Councillor Chris Penberthy (Chair of Performance, Finance and Customer Focus Overview and Scrutiny Committee):


City council data show £1,377,429.56 spent using Government Procurement Cards in 2019. In 2020 the council revised its GPC policy, but in 2021 Internal Audit found “significant gaps, weaknesses or non-compliance”. 2022 GPC spending was £2,595,783.53. How has Overview & Scrutiny ensured there is sound justification for this 88.45% increase?   


The Performance, Finance and Customer Focus Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which I Chair is responsible for scrutinising the finances of the Council.  


The use of Purchasing Cards are just one of the ways Council Officers pay for goods and services and generally are limited to minor expense and where the supplier requires payment at the point of purchase. The reason for the increase in expenditure in 2022 is due to the huge increase in needing to place families into Emergency Accommodation approximately around £1M. 


The Annual Audit Report 2020-21 was considered by the Audit and Governance Committee in July 2021 and provided an overall opinion of “Reasonable Assurance”.  


Page 10 of that report highlights that an internal audit survey of cardholders found there had been – 


·         some non-compliance with policies and procedures: 

·         that a few cardholders continued to split purchases to circumvent their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.



(a)        To receive announcements from the Lord Mayor, Chief Executive, Service Director for Finance or Head of Legal Services;


(b)        To receive announcements from the Leader, Cabinet Members or Committee Chairs.

Additional documents:


The Lord Mayor made the following announcements:


a)    It had been a year since Russia escalated their illegal invasion of Ukraine and it was painful to see the devastation and  loss that people continue to suffer as a result of the attack on their country and it was important to continue to stand with the people of Ukraine;

                      i.        Over 12 months, Plymouth has welcomed over 180 Ukrainian people with open arms;

                     ii.        The Council would continue to offer support in weeks and months ahead, working in partnership to help people access education, jobs and local services;

                    iii.        Ukraine had enjoyed freedom and democracy for decades and The Council could not and would not look away and expressed its collective message of hope;

                    iv.        A minutes silence and quiet reflection had been held on Friday 24 February 2023;

b)    With great sadness, reported to Council;

                      i.        The death of former Lord Mayor Ralph Morrell who had been elected in Jun 1961 and served for over 30 years;

                     ii.        The sad passing of former councillor Derek Ackland who was elected to Plymouth City Council from 1982-1987;

                    iii.        The Council expressed heartfelt condolences to the families and a minutes silence was held in memory.


Councillor Jonathan Drean (Cabinet Member for Transport) made the following announcements:


a)    Platinum Way, part of the Forder Valley link road project, would open later that evening on 27 February 2023 as the final part of the scheme had been completed by Persimmon Homes with the aim of reducing journey times to and from key locations;

                      i.        The project had been achieved despite global pressures;

                     ii.        Expressed thanks to local residents and commuters for their patience;

                    iii.        Thanked the Highways and Planning teams, as well as the main contractor for the project, Balfour Beatty and their partners;

                    iv.        The project had been completed with a workforce of who 85% lived in a Plymouth postcode;

                     v.        455 weeks of training had been provided for students through apprenticeships and NVQ’s;

                    vi.        14,5000 trees had been planted and new bird boxes had been installed;

                  vii.        The stream that runs underneath the roads had been completed with otter shelves to allow wildlife to cross in free flowing water;

                 viii.        There were Wildlife Ponds and retention ponds, adding to resilience against the risk of flooding;

                   ix.        Additional capacity had been created at Leigham Roundabout.


Revenue and Capital Budget and Proposed Council Tax Levels for 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:


Councillor Mrs Bridgeman arrived at 2.31 pm

Councillor Allen arrived at 2.45 pm


Councillor Richard Bingley, Leader of the Council introduced the item and highlighted:-


a)    To balance a local authority budget totalling around half a billion pounds was never an easy task and the challenge, this time, was on a scale not previously experienced;

b)    National factors had impacted the Council like never before with rocketing inflation, the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy bills and the impact of the COVID19 pandemic, which added to a rise in demand pressures and costs, particularly in social care services;


c)    The challenge had been to close a £37.6 million gap in resources to set a balanced budget for 2023/24, whilst tackling the In-year shortfall;


d)    It was treated as an emergency crisis and was acted on quickly and proactively with spending reviews undertaken to look at every line in every department;

e)    A budget recovery programme had been instigated, focusing on modernisation and investment, generating?income, reviewing the efficiency and effectiveness of everything the Council did and making difficult decisions to change, pause or stop activities, whilst protecting statutory services;


f)     Officers and members had worked extremely hard to identify ways to reduce costs, whilst delivering on the administrations ambitions for Plymouth;


g)    The Leader thanked all Cabinet members and members of the council for their ideas and Plymouth residents for their contribution to the public consultation in November and December;


h)    The Leader also expressed thanks to the three-day scrutiny panel Chaired by Councillor Lee Finn and organised by Councillor Chris Penberthy and Councillor Mark Shayer, who had worked extremely hard with the finance and economy in his Cabinet portfolio;


i)     Over £20 million of savings had been identified that had to be delivered, with the understanding that the same financial pressures the Council was facing with rising bills, was also being faced by every household in Plymouth;


j)     There is pride that a balanced budget could be proposed when other Councils had effectively gone bankrupt, had required Government intervention, resulting in large Council Tax increases;


k)    Work had been conducted cross-party to ensure sustainable improvements and stability that result from the 2023/24 budget for whoever comes next;


l)     The ambition throughout had been – and would continue to be – to ensure both the Council and city emerged from the latest economic situation stronger, greener and more resilient for the future;


m)  Despite the huge financial challenge, the administration had continued to deliver upon core priorities for Plymouth they set out in their strategic delivery plan in June 2022, which was described by a global government review as an example of excellent strategic practice which other local authorities could and should learn from namely to deliver higher value jobs, affordable green homes, better education and access to good health care;


n)    They had mobilised the Plymouth and South West Devon Freeport – which was expected to bring more than 1,000 new jobs in the following two years,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.