Councillors agree to adjourn Lyndale School call in meeting

Councillors agree to adjourn Lyndale School call in meeting

Councillors agree to adjourn Lyndale School call in meeting


The following recommendation proposed by Cllr Steve Foulkes and seconded by Cllr Patricia Glasman was agreed unanimously by those on Wirral Council’s Coordinating Committee who were Cllr Steve Foulkes (Vice-Chair, Labour), Cllr John Salter (Labour), Cllr Jean Stapleton (Labour), Cllr Moira McLaughlin (Labour), Cllr Denise Realey (Labour), Cllr Patricia Glasman (Labour), Cllr Paul Doughty (Labour), Cllr Bernie Mooney (Labour), Cllr Denise Roberts (Labour), Cllr Leah Fraser (Conservative), Cllr Adam Sykes (Conservative), Cllr David Elderton (Conservative), Cllr Wendy Clements (Conservative), Cllr Andrew Hodson (Conservative) and Cllr Alan Brighouse (Liberal Democrats).

The same councillors will make up the Coordinating Committee meeting to consider the Lyndale School call in on the 27th February (plus the co-optees with voting rights referred to in the recommendation below).


Council at its Annual Meeting on 20 May 2013, appointed two Parent Governor Representatives and Diocesan Representatives (as statutory co-optees) to Families and Wellbeing Policy and Performance Committee. The Committee is responsible for the scrutiny of education matters and the statutory co-optees are entitled to participate and vote pn such matters.

However, the Council’s Constitution provides that the Policy and Performance Co-ordinating Committee be responsible for dealing with all call-ins. As both call-ins in question relate to education matters, it is appropriate that the statutory co-optees referred to above are afforded the opportunity to participate and vote in respect of both call-ins.

Following the Cabinet meeting on 16 January 2014, the following two decisions have been called in and must be considered by the Policy and Performance Co-ordinating Committee.

  • Cabinet Minute No. 129 – Report Seeking Approval to consult on the Closure of the Lyndale School; and
  • Cabinet Minute No. 140 – Proposals for Changes to School Top Up Payments for Students with High Needs

Given that both call-ins relate to educational matters, it is not possible to consider either call-in until the Parent Governor and Diocesan Representatives have been co-opted onto this Committee

It is therefore recommended that:
(1) the Committee notes the two call in notices received;

(2) the meeting be adjourned until 6pm on Thursday, 27 February 2014;

(3) it is recommended that the Council extends the Membership of the Policy and Performance Co-ordinating Committee to include:
(a) Two Parent Governor Representatives; and
(b) A representative of each of the appropriate Diocesan Authorities;
With voting rights, for the purpose of dealing with educational matters

(4) in order to meet legal requirements when considering educational matters the Council be recommended to co-opt onto the Policy and Performance Committee:
(a) the following two Parent Governor Representatives, elected to sit on the Council’s scrutiny committees that deal with education (with voting rights, in respect of educational matters only)

  • Mrs H Shoebridge (until 28 October 2015); and
  • Mrs Nicola Smith (until 8 February 2017)


(b) the following two Diocesan Authority representatives (with voting right in respect of educational matters only)

  • Damien Cunningham (representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury); and
  • A representative of the Church of England Diocese of Chester (currently a nomination has not yet been made).

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Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 3rd July 2013 | Councillors argue over minutes of LGA Conference costs call-in

A report on Wirral Council’s Coordinating Committee meeting of the 3rd July 2013 | Councillors argue over minutes of LGA Conference costs call-in

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Above is Part 1 of the Coordinating Committee meeting of the 3rd July 2013, which covers the first twenty-four minutes of the meeting, if you want to watch the whole meeting there is a playlist of all parts of the meeting here.

Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 3rd July 2013 | Councillors argue over minutes of LGA Conference costs call-in meeting


Cllr David Elderton
Cllr Alan Brighouse (Liberal Democrat spokesperson)
Cllr Denise Roberts
Cllr Moira McLaughlin
Cllr Adam Sykes
Cllr Robert Gregson deputy for Cllr Ron Abbey
Cllr Stuart Wittingham (Chair)
Cllr Jean Stapleton
Cllr Andrew Hodson (Conservative spokesperson)
Cllr Steve Williams
Cllr Steve Foulkes
Cllr Bernie Mooney
Cllr Leah Fraser
Cllr Pat Glasman

The Chair, Cllr Stuart Wittingham welcomed people to the inaugural meeting of the Coordinating Committee (although the committee had already met to consider the Conservative call in of whether sending people to the Local Government Association conference was value for money. He asked for any apologies. Apologies were given for Cllr Ron Abbey.

Cllr David Elderton asked why there were no microphones for the members of the committee (other than the Chair and the officers either side of him)? The Chair said they’d find out, but in the meantime just to speak loudly. The Chair asked for any declarations of interest or party whip? Nobody made any. He then asked if people had had a chance to read the minutes of the previous Coordinating Committee meeting, which considered the call-in?

Cllr Leah Fraser said that before they approved them she wanted to make some comments. Cllr Patricia Glasman asked if they were points on the minutes of the Scrutiny Programme Board? Cllr Fraser answered they weren’t, they were to do with the minutes of the call-in meeting.

The Chair pointed out to Cllr Glasman that agenda item four was the minutes of the call-in meeting. Cllr Fraser said she would limit her comments to two or three.

Under Melissa Holt, in the second paragraph Cllr Fraser quoted that in the minutes Melissa Holt “had become aware of an invoice for the LGA Conference”, she felt the sentence was “isn’t entirely accurate” and that what Melissa Holt had said was that she first became aware that the places had been booked for the conference on the 29th May. Cllr Fraser thought the sentence should be changed around and that it was an important point.

Cllr Steve Foulkes said, “I’m certainly not happy at all, I’m unhappy with one person’s version of events being the truth.”

Cllr Leah Fraser started to reply to Cllr Steve Foulkes but was interrupted by a Labour councillor, then a number of different councillors expressed their views on the matter.

Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee bans filming and public from public meeting on “health and safety grounds”

Wirral Council bans public from filming Pensions Committee on “health and safety” grounds.

Wirral Council bans filming and public from public meeting Bizarrely at the start of the Pension Committee all members of the public were asked to leave by the Chair (who seemed to conveniently forget that the public have a legal right to be there).

What followed was twenty minutes of discussion as to whether to allow filming at the meeting. Quite exactly what took place during that twenty minutes, I can only report based on the snippets heard as Cllr Harry Smith’s voice reverberated through the closed-door as he told the Committee how “upsetting” he found filming. Getting into his stride he used one of his favourite words “political” not just once but multiple times and said it should be banned because I was a member of a political party (untrue). He said he had no issue with anyone else filming who was “non-political” but then tried to say I am a member of the Liberal Democrats (which I’m not), then contradicting himself in the same sentence by referring to me as an independent. As Peter Cook put it once, “You may choose if you wish to believe a transparent tissue of odious lies, that streamed on and on ….. that is entirely a matter for you.”

When it was pointed out by another councillor that this was irrelevant to the issue of filming the meeting, Cllr Harry Smith just looked even more irate, seemingly unused to any councillor (or in fact anybody) having the temerity to tell him he was being irrelevant.

When the public returned Cllr Ann McLachlan read out a recommendation that at least from where I was sitting couldn’t be heard. Another councillor then tabled an amendment to “current Committee meeting” as it was subject to a review. Cllr Adrian Jones asked him to repeat what he’d said as he hadn’t heard it. He repeated it, Cllr George Davies shouted “current” at Cllr Adrian Jones followed by the Chair saying “at the moment”.

Despite separate votes being required for the amendment and resolution only one vote was taken, 8:5 on the amended resolution.

The Chair, Cllr Patricia Glasman then said, “So the resolution is carried, OK, so ladies and gentlemen, Mr and Mrs Brace, you may not film this meeting tonight on the basis that your equipment has not been…, it does actually say that you would have to have a health and safety agreement to use your equipment and that that’s because of errm a review, which is currently Council is looking into the issue of filming.”

John Brace, “Would it be ok if I filmed without the tripod, is that the issue?”

Chair, Cllr Patricia Glasman, “Errm, well the tripod is one of the issues, but no, we’ve had a resolution, asking you not to film the meeting.”

John Brace, “Can I have a copy of the resolution if possible?”

Pension Committee (Wirral Council) 20th November 2012 Part 3

Part 3 of the report on the Pension Committee’s (Wirral Council) meeting of the 20th November 2012 which manages the Merseyside Pension Fund.

Continued from Pension Committee (Wirral Council) 20th November 2012 Part 2.

The next item on the agenda was the gifts and hospitality policy, Peter Wallach spent five minutes summarising the report. At the end the Chair asked if there were any questions. Nobody asked any questions and the recommendations were agreed.

The next report was an update on work on the Cunard Building. Cllr Hornby wanted a working party set up and for the committee to agree to a working party being created. Cllr Harry Smith said he would second it if Cllr Hornby added if needed. Cllr Adrian Jones said it was sensible and he would go along with it. Cllr Harry Smith said he would support a working party if needed. Cllr Hornby said that he was trying to save time and not wait till next year. Cllr Harry Smith said he wouldn’t name the officer, but the unnamed officer had said that they would make a decision, he said he was not happy with officers making decisions before councillors. The Chair asked for a vote. All voted in favour of a working party.

Peter Wallach said a report was expected at the end of the month, the next committee meeting was in January so there would be a working party by Christmas.

The next report was on the LGC Investment Conference. The officer said it was in the supplementary papers as it had a title similar to a previous agenda item which had been incorrectly duplicated. The investment conference in Chester was seen as an important element of their training and costs would be met from the training budget.

Cllr Harry Smith said he had discussed this at the briefing, he said this training opportunity should be open to members of the Pension Committee. The Chair agreed that training was important. There was a vote and it was agreed that people would be sent at a cost of £425 + VAT (which included a nights accommodation in Cheshire) + travel.

The application from Mellors Catering Services Ltd which had been agreed under delegated decision-making by officers was agreed.

The Chair asked if there were any objections to the Investment Working Party minutes. No objections were made. The press and public were excluded from the rest of the meeting.

Pension Committee (Wirral Council) 20th November 2012 Part 2

Pension Committee (Wirral Council) 20th November 2012 Part 2

So, after the vote to ban filming at the Pension Committee what happened next?

Well first a list of who was there (apologies for not including councillors from other Merseyside councils I don’t know the names of)

Pensions Committee
Cllr Patricia Glasman, Chair
Cllr Geoffrey Watt
Cllr Mike Hornby
Cllr Adam Sykes
Cllr Tom Harney
Cllr Adrian Jones
Cllr Sylvia Hodrien
Cllr Harry Smith
Cllr Ann McLachlan
Cllr George Davies
Phil Goodwin (trade union representative)

Wirral Council Officers
Colin Hughes
Peter Timmins
Pat Philips
+ others from the Merseyside Pension Fund

A declaration of interest was made as the person was a member of the Merseyside Pension Fund.

The minutes were agreed.

An officer gave a brief summary of a LGPS Update report which included the Merseyside Pension Fund response to the Department of Communities and Local Government on the impacts of the Public Service Pension Bill on the Merseyside Pension Fund.

No questions were asked, the report was noted and the letter was noted.

An officer then asked for approval for the Statement of Investment Principles which was an appendix to a report which they said “do not constitute a change in investment strategy”.

The Chair asked how long it would take? The answer given by the officer was that they intended to sign it by the end of November.

Cllr Harry Smith said that he understood the reason some documents were hyperlinked and that he had “calmed down now”.

Cllr Watt commented on the links, Phil Goodwin commented on the same issue and the Chair said it would be revisited next year. The recommendation was agreed.

Yvonne Caddock introduced the report on Annual Allowance Tax Charge and Scheme Pays Process, which related to how much a person can pay into the pension scheme each year without incurring a tax charge.

A councillor asked about the numbers of how many were likely to be affected?
Yvonne answered that they had got it down to about ninety members in the Fund, who they would have to issue pension statements for but that there may be seven or eight members that exceeded the new limit which would lead to a tax charge.

Cllr Geoffrey Watt made a comment. The recommendations were agreed.

Peter Wallach said they’d been shortlisted for the LGC Investment Awards 2012 and asked if the Pension Committee wanted to be represented at the awards ceremony and if so how many?

The Chair asked for comments. Cllr Harry Smith suggested three councillors, one from Labour, one from the Conservatives and one from the Lib Dems.

The Chair suggested that they add the Head of the Fund too. Cllr Geoffrey Watt asked which category they had been shortlisted in? The answer given was large pension fund of the year. They all voted in favour of sending three councillors and the head of the Fund to the awards ceremony at The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London in December.