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Agenda item

Notice Of Motion Regarding "Truth, Trust and Transparency" - Given By Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed And To Be Seconded By Councillor Barbara Masters

That this Council:-

 

(a)      believes that local government is at its best when it operates on the principles of truth, trust and transparency;

 

(b)      believes that the destruction of large numbers of healthy highway trees, the handling of the associated protests and the withholding of information has undermined public trust in the Council and that this trust must be rebuilt and restored;

 

(c)      believes that a necessary step to rebuilding this trust is to hold an inquiry to ascertain the facts and make recommendations, and specifically that such an inquiry:-

 

(i)       is fully held in public;

 

(ii)       is led by someone of the status of a retired judge, and who has a detailed understanding of public procurement;

 

(iii)      has access to all the council papers it requests; and

 

          (iv)      is able to question any council officers it believes appropriate;

 

(d)      recommends that the Cooperative Executive commission such an inquiry to commence by September 2021 at the latest;

 

(e)      calls on all current and past councillors and past council officers to co-operate with this inquiry;

 

(f)       calls on partners, specifically Amey and South Yorkshire Police, to co-operate with this inquiry; and

 

(g)      resolves to request the Cooperative Executive to publish the findings of this inquiry and act on its recommendations.

 

 

Minutes:

6.1

It was moved by Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, and seconded by Councillor Barbara Masters, that this Council:-

 

 

 

 

 

(a)      believes that local government is at its best when it operates on the principles of truth, trust and transparency;

 

(b)      believes that the destruction of large numbers of healthy highway trees, the handling of the associated protests and the withholding of information has undermined public trust in the Council and that this trust must be rebuilt and restored;

 

(c)      believes that a necessary step to rebuilding this trust is to hold an inquiry to ascertain the facts and make recommendations, and specifically that such an inquiry:-

 

(i)       is fully held in public;

 

(ii)       is led by someone of the status of a retired judge, and who has a detailed understanding of public procurement;

 

(iii)      has access to all the council papers it requests; and

 

(iv)     is able to question any council officers it believes appropriate;

 

(d)      recommends that the Cooperative Executive commission such an inquiry to commence by September 2021 at the latest;

 

(e)      calls on all current and past councillors and past council officers to co-operate with this inquiry;

 

(f)       calls on partners, specifically Amey and South Yorkshire Police, to co-operate with this inquiry; and

 

(g)      resolves to request the Cooperative Executive to publish the findings of this inquiry and act on its recommendations.

 

 

 

 

6.2

Whereupon, it was moved by Councillor Julie Grocutt, and seconded by Councillor Cate McDonald, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraphs (b) to (d), the addition of new paragraphs (b) to (g) as follows, and the re-lettering of original paragraphs (e) to (g) as new paragraphs (h) to (j):-

 

 

 

 

 

(b)      acknowledges that the Council has made an unreserved apology for the failings relating to the implementation of the Streets Ahead project and the management of the street trees element of this, following the reports of the Local Government Ombudsman, the Forestry Commission and the Lessons Learnt work;

 

 

 

 

 

(c)      believes that over the past three years the approach to Streets Ahead and highway trees is now significantly different and supported by the majority of people, however recognises that this should have been reached a long time before it was; 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)      notes that we are now working towards a street tree strategy that has been co-produced with the groups who were previously at the centre of the dispute and believes this is a demonstration of how far we have come together and thanks everyone who has been involved in making this happen;

 

 

 

 

 

(e)      recognises that the Administration has already committed to holding an inquiry and, as outlined in the commitments of the Co-operative Executive, the Council will ‘Appoint an independent person to conduct a local non-statutory inquiry into the management of the street trees dispute.’;

 

 

 

 

 

(f)       believes that the important principle of the inquiry is that it is independent and that this should be undertaken in accordance with best practice for similar inquires in local government and supports that the independent lead should have full discretion over any relevant papers they wish to view or council officers that they wish to speak to; and

 

 

 

 

 

(g)      believes that the full details and terms of reference for the inquiry must be properly developed and that it would be premature at this stage to limit the professional background of the independent person leading the inquiry to a specific profession, such as a retired judge, as there are a range of skills that will be needed to lead the inquiry and these could be drawn from a range of backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

6.3

It was then moved by Councillor Alison Teal, seconded by Councillor Paul Turpin, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraph (c), the addition of new paragraphs (c) and (d) as follows, and the re-lettering of original paragraphs (d) to (g) as new paragraphs (e) to (h):-

 

 

 

 

 

(c)      welcomes the commitment to an inquiry, open to the public, secured by the Green Group in negotiation with the Labour Group, into the management of the street trees dispute;

 

 

 

 

 

(d)      requests the Administration to ensure that the inquiry is led by someone of the status of being impartial and deemed to be sufficiently skilled, knowledgeable and capable to conduct this independent inquiry by both the Cooperative Executive and by appointed representatives from the tree campaign group known as Sheffield Tree Action Groups, and Amey;

 

 

 

 

6.4

After contributions from seven other Members, and following a right of reply from Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, the amendment moved by Councillor Julie Grocutt was put to the vote and was carried.

 

 

 

 

6.4.1

The votes on the amendment were ordered to be recorded and were as follows:-

 

 

 

 

 

For the amendment (33)

-

The Deputy Lord Mayor (Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards) and Councillors Chris Rosling-Josephs, Denise Fox, Bryan Lodge, Karen McGowan, Talib Hussain, Mark Jones, Safiya Saeed, Ruth Milsom, Mary Lea, Zahira Naz, Abdul Khayum, Abtisam Mohamed, Cate McDonald, George Lindars-Hammond, Josie Paszek, Terry Fox, Anne Murphy, Tony Downing, Ben Miskell, Jack Scott, Sophie Wilson, David Barker, Mike Drabble, Dawn Dale, Peter Price, Garry Weatherall, Tony Damms, Jayne Dunn, Julie Grocutt, Ben Curran, Jackie Satur and Paul Wood.

 

 

 

 

 

Against the amendment (24)

-

Councillors Simon Clement-Jones, Richard Shaw, Sophie Thornton, Bob McCann, Ann Woolhouse, Tim Huggan, Mohammed Mahroof, Colin Ross, Martin Smith, Vic Bowden, Alan Woodcock, Roger Davison, Barbara Masters, Shaffaq Mohammed, Cliff Woodcraft, Ian Auckland, Steve Ayris, Kevin Oxley, Vickie Priestley, Richard Williams, Lewis Chinchen, Alan Hooper, Mike Levery and Ann Whitaker.

 

 

 

 

 

Abstained from voting on the amendment (14)

-

The Lord Mayor (Councillor Gail Smith) and Councillors Angela Argenzio, Brian Holmshaw, Kaltum Rivers, Douglas Johnson, Ruth Mersereau, Martin Phipps, Alexi Dimond, Paul Turpin, Christine Gilligan, Peter Garbutt, Maroof Raouf, Alison Teal and Bernard Little.

 

 

 

6.5

The amendment moved by Councillor Alison Teal was then put to the vote and was also carried.

 

 

 

 

6.6

The original Motion, as amended, was then put as a Substantive Motion in the following form and carried:-

 

 

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

 

 

 

 

(a)      believes that local government is at its best when it operates on the principles of truth, trust and transparency;

 

(b)      acknowledges that the Council has made an unreserved apology for the failings relating to the implementation of the Streets Ahead project and the management of the street trees element of this, following the reports of the Local Government Ombudsman, the Forestry Commission and the Lessons Learnt work;

 

(c)      believes that over the past three years the approach to Streets Ahead and highway trees is now significantly different and supported by the majority of people, however recognises that this should have been reached a long time before it was;

 

 

 

 

 

(d)      notes that we are now working towards a street tree strategy that has been co-produced with the groups who were previously at the centre of the dispute and believes this is a demonstration of how far we have come together and thanks everyone who has been involved in making this happen;

 

(e)      recognises that the Administration has already committed to holding an inquiry and, as outlined in the commitments of the Co-operative Executive, the Council will ‘Appoint an independent person to conduct a local non-statutory inquiry into the management of the street trees dispute.’;

 

(f)       believes that the important principle of the inquiry is that it is independent and that this should be undertaken in accordance with best practice for similar inquires in local government and supports that the independent lead should have full discretion over any relevant papers they wish to view or council officers that they wish to speak to;

 

(g)      believes that the full details and terms of reference for the inquiry must be properly developed and that it would be premature at this stage to limit the professional background of the independent person leading the inquiry to a specific profession, such as a retired judge, as there are a range of skills that will be needed to lead the inquiry and these could be drawn from a range of backgrounds;

 

 

 

 

 

(h)      welcomes the commitment to an inquiry, open to the public, secured by the Green Group in negotiation with the Labour Group, into the management of the street trees dispute;

         

(i)       requests the Administration to ensure that the inquiry is led by someone of the status of being impartial and deemed to be sufficiently skilled, knowledgeable and capable to conduct this independent inquiry by both the Cooperative Executive and by appointed representatives from the tree campaign group known as Sheffield Tree Action Groups, and Amey;

         

(j)       calls on all current and past councillors and past council officers to co-operate with this inquiry;

         

(k)      calls on partners, specifically Amey and South Yorkshire Police, to co-operate with this inquiry; and

         

(l)       resolves to request the Cooperative Executive to publish the findings of this inquiry and act on its recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.6.1

(NOTE: Councillors Simon Clement-Jones, Richard Shaw, Sophie Thornton, Bob McCann, Ann Woolhouse, Tim Huggan, Mohammed Mahroof, Colin Ross, Martin Smith, Vic Bowden, Alan Woodcock, Roger Davison, Barbara Masters, Shaffaq Mohammed, Cliff Woodcraft, Ian Auckland, Steve Ayris, Kevin Oxley, Vickie Priestley, Richard Williams, Alan Hooper, Mike Levery and Ann Whitaker, voted for paragraphs (a), (j), (k) and (l) and voted against paragraphs (b) to (i) of the Substantive Motion, and asked for this to be recorded.)