Agenda item

Motions

To consider the following four motions.

 

Motion 1

Councillor O'Neil to move, Councillor Dutton to second.

 

This council notes:

1.    On Tuesday 6 October, the Trade Union Conference (TUC) received a letter from the Department for Education saying that ministers have decided to end the Union Learning Fund from March 2021.

2.    The Union Learning Fund (ULF) was set up in 1998 to support trade unions to widen access to learning and training in workplaces for both union members and non-members. The fund supports workplace projects across England, and is coordinated by the TUC.

3.    Each year around 200,000 workers are supported into learning or training with union support through the ULF and the TUC. These learners undertake all sorts of job-relevant learning and training, including basic literacy and numeracy, ICT skills, apprenticeships and traineeships, vocational training, continuing professional development and many other informal and formal courses.

4.    In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. If upheld this decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training, and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy.

 

This council understands that:

1.    Union learning reaches people that other Department for Education programmes do not reach.

2.    There is an independent evaluation of the Union Learning Fund every two years. It was most recently evaluated by the University of Exeter in 2018. They spoke to 2,459 learners, and found:

·         Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of learners with no previous qualifications got a qualification.

·         47 per cent of those with entry level or level 1 qualifications got a qualification at a higher level.

·         Four in five (80 per cent) said they had developed skills that they could transfer to a new job.

·         Two in three (62 per cent) said their new skills made them more effective in their current job.

·         One in five (19 per cent) said they had been promoted or given increased responsibility and one in 10 (11 per cent) got a pay rise.

 

3.    The 2018 independent evaluation found that union learning provided excellent value for money:

·         For every £1 spent on the Union Learning Fund, there is a return of £12.30: £7.60 to the worker, £4.70 to the employer.

·         The Union Learning Fund delivers an estimated net contribution to the economy of more than £1.4bn as a result of a boost to jobs, wages and productivity.

·         The return to the exchequer (through reduced spending on welfare benefits and other factors resulting from the boost to jobs and wages) is £3.57 for each £1 spent on the Union Learning Fund.

·         The £12m government funding levered in an additional £54m from employers, unions and training providers in 2019–20.

 

4.    The government has said it will put reskilling workers at the heart of its economic recovery plans after the pandemic. In September 2020, the government announced a new fully funded entitlement to achieve a first level 3 qualification, delivered through the National Skills Fund. Union learning is ideally placed to support this aspiration, in two ways:

·         Directly, through delivering relevant level 3 courses to workplace learners, which is already a core function of the Union Learning Fund and was assessed as highly effective by the 2018 independent evaluation.

·         Directly, through enabling those with basic skills to learn and develop, putting them in a position to progress to level 3 skills.

 

5.    Successive governments of all parties have valued this role – and have supported the Union Learning Fund. As government funding, it is paid as a contract and is subject to stringent monitoring requirements. Union Learning Fund money can only be spent on the direct costs of getting working people into learning and skills training, and the associated costs of delivering this programme.

6.    ULF projects adapted quickly to delivering online learning and training for workers during the pandemic and have actually surpassed the number of outcomes expected by government since the beginning of April.

 

This council resolves to:

1.    Express its public support for the continuation of the Union Learning Fund.

2.    Ask the Chief Executive to write to both local MPs and encourage them to call on the government to reverse its decision

3.    Ask the Chief Executive to make public the responses of local MP's at the next full council meeting.

 

Motion 2

Councillor Susan Smith to move, Councillor Meredith to second.

 

This Council notes that in the face of continued uncertainty and disruption this means that sufficient funding and resources are made readily available to the NHS and other care providers to enable the delivery of care packages and programmes that work effectively and which work alongside existing health and social care services, thereby properly responding to people’s urgent mental health needs in these difficult times we are currently facing and in the months and years ahead.

 

A considerable weight of evidence  has been gathered  to demonstrate the deleterious impact of Covid-19 on people’s mental health and wellbeing, together with the a huge psychological impact that is brought to bear on those people who are already adversely affected by mental health issues. This also includes children, who may feel particularly vulnerable at this time, and, it should be noted, there is evidence of increasing incidences of children who are self-harming and developing conditions such as severe anxiety and stress – which often require treatment.

 

According to a recent survey on mental health provision, 98% of people who are currently suffering from a mental health condition have stated that their mental health has deteriorated since the onset of Covid-19. This is putting a huge strain on our already struggling medical and social services.

 

The Council resolves that the Chief Executive write to the Secretary of State requesting the government intervene and prioritise the nation’s mental health; that the government take into account the large and increasing numbers of mental health issues are happening during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Council requests that the government is made fully aware of the negative impact that these issues are having on people, their families and also the additional strain that is being brought to bear on the National Health Service, especially at this current time when their resources are stretched close to breaking point.

 

Motion 3

Councillor Blundell to move, Councillor Dearnley to second

 

This Council believes that the first duty of Members of the Council is to represent the citizens of the Borough who elected them and to act as their advocates in accessing Council services or raising complaints when something goes wrong.

 

The Council is concerned that Members are not always able to effectively carry out this important cornerstone of democracy, because the Council’s procedures on handling Members’ requests for information are being operated in an overly restrictive way, is not transparent, are not aligned with the arrangements for dealing with Member enquires or service complaints.

 

The Council acknowledges that members and officers must comply with data protection laws, but we believe the current balance of rights and responsibilities under Council procedures needs to be adjusted to allow Members to do their job in the best interests of the citizens of the borough.

 

The Council therefore instructs the Chief Executive Officer to work with elected members to establish a working group including the members moving this motion to investigate these concerns, review the Council’s procedures and to make recommendations to Council and/or Cabinet as appropriate.

 

Motion 4

Councillor Davidson to move, Councillor David Bamford to second.

 

This Council is committed to making our Borough a safer place for everyone.

Council notes:

 

Public sexual harassment is the most common form of violence against women and girls, restricting their freedom of movement and expression; That in surveys two-thirds of women and girls report they have faced street harassment in the UK;

·         That street harassment in the UK is not covered by any specific offence, unlike in Portugal, Belgium and France.

·         That stopping street harassment would be a powerful step in tackling inequality and keeping women safe.

·         The incredible work of Our Streets Now, and their petition which has attracted over 200,000 signatures to make street harassment a specific crime.

·         That according to a report by Our Streets Now, only 14 per cent of pupils have been taught about public sexual harassment at school, and that 47 per cent of them would not report an incident of public sexual harassment to their school because they were afraid or feared they would not be taken seriously by staff.

 

Council recognises:

·         That we must create an environment where street harassment is seen and policed as a crime, and where girls feel safer on our streets.

·         That we need to work together with our schools to ensure that anyone who is harassed will feel confident that their report will be treated with the respect, care and seriousness that is required.

·         That changing the law, and education for our young people, are key planks in combating street harassment, establishing safer streets, and delivering equality.

 

Council resolves to:

·         Promote the Our Streets Now campaign to make street harassment a crime, and encourage all elected members, and residents to sign the petition.

·         Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Home Secretary to ask her to make street harassment a specific crime.

·         Ask the Chief Executive to write to the two MPs who cover the Borough, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester / Police and Crime Commissioner, to ask them to show their support for this campaign by signing the petition and by lobbying ministers to make street harassment a specific crime.

·         Ask all schools colleges in the Borough to each develop a clear policy on tackling harassment, separate to their bullying policy.

·         Ask all local schools to include education around public sexual harassment as part of their PSHE education.

·         Ensure that the recommendations of the Our Schools Now report are communicated to schools with a view to integrating their recommendations into their PSHE teaching.

Minutes:

a)    Union Learning Fund

 

It was moved by Councillor O’Neill and seconded by Councillor Dutton that:

 

This council notes:

  1. On Tuesday 6 October, the Trade Union Conference (TUC) received a letter from the Department for Education saying that ministers have decided to end the Union Learning Fund from March 2021.
  2. The Union Learning Fund (ULF) was set up in 1998 to support trade unions to widen access to learning and training in workplaces for both union members and non-members. The fund supports workplace projects across England, and is coordinated by the TUC.
  3. Each year around 200,000 workers are supported into learning or training with union support through the ULF and the TUC. These learners undertake all sorts of job-relevant learning and training, including basic literacy and numeracy, ICT skills, apprenticeships and traineeships, vocational training, continuing professional development and many other informal and formal courses.
  4. In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. If upheld this decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training, and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy.

 

This council understands that:

  1. Union learning reaches people that other Department for Education programmes do not reach.
  2. There is an independent evaluation of the Union Learning Fund every two years. It was most recently evaluated by the University of Exeter in 2018. They spoke to 2,459 learners, and found:
    • Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of learners with no previous qualifications got a qualification.
    • 47 per cent of those with entry level or level 1 qualifications got a qualification at a higher level.
    • Four in five (80 per cent) said they had developed skills that they could transfer to a new job.
    • Two in three (62 per cent) said their new skills made them more effective in their current job.
    • One in five (19 per cent) said they had been promoted or given increased responsibility and one in 10 (11 per cent) got a pay rise.

 

  1. The 2018 independent evaluation found that union learning provided excellent value for money:
    • For every £1 spent on the Union Learning Fund, there is a return of £12.30: £7.60 to the worker, £4.70 to the employer.
    • The Union Learning Fund delivers an estimated net contribution to the economy of more than £1.4bn as a result of a boost to jobs, wages and productivity.
    • The return to the exchequer (through reduced spending on welfare benefits and other factors resulting from the boost to jobs and wages) is £3.57 for each £1 spent on the Union Learning Fund.
    • The £12m government funding levered in an additional £54m from employers, unions and training providers in 2019–20.

 

  1. The government has said it will put reskilling workers at the heart of its economic recovery plans after the pandemic. In September 2020, the government announced a new fully funded entitlement to achieve a first level 3 qualification, delivered through the National Skills Fund. Union learning is ideally placed to support this aspiration, in two ways:
    • Directly, through delivering relevant level 3 courses to workplace learners, which is already a core function of the Union Learning Fund and was assessed as highly effective by the 2018 independent evaluation.
    • Directly, through enabling those with basic skills to learn and develop, putting them in a position to progress to level 3 skills.

 

  1. Successive governments of all parties have valued this role – and have supported the Union Learning Fund. As government funding, it is paid as a contract and is subject to stringent monitoring requirements. Union Learning Fund money can only be spent on the direct costs of getting working people into learning and skills training, and the associated costs of delivering this programme.
  2. ULF projects adapted quickly to delivering online learning and training for workers during the pandemic and have actually surpassed the number of outcomes expected by government since the beginning of April.

 

This council resolves to:

  1. Express its public support for the continuation of the Union Learning Fund.
  2. Ask the Chief Executive to write to both local MPs and encourage them to call on the government to reverse its decision
  3. Ask the Chief Executive to make public the responses of local MP's at the next full council meeting.

 

On being put the vote, the motion was carried and it was RESOLVED accordingly.

 

b)    Mental Health Services

 

It was moved by Councillor Susan Smith and seconded by Councillor Meredith that:

 

This Council notes that in the face of continued uncertainty and disruption this means that sufficient funding and resources are made readily available to the NHS and other care providers to enable the delivery of care packages and programmes that work effectively and which work alongside existing health and social care services, thereby properly responding to people’s urgent mental health needs in these difficult times we are currently facing and in the months and years ahead.

 

A considerable weight of evidence  has been gathered  to demonstrate the deleterious impact of Covid-19 on people’s mental health and wellbeing, together with the a huge psychological impact that is brought to bear on those people who are already adversely affected by mental health issues. This also includes children, who may feel particularly vulnerable at this time, and, it should be noted, there is evidence of increasing incidences of children who are self-harming and developing conditions such as severe anxiety and stress – which often require treatment.

 

According to a recent survey on mental health provision, 98% of people who are currently suffering from a mental health condition have stated that their mental health has deteriorated since the onset of Covid-19. This is putting a huge strain on our already struggling medical and social services.

 

The Council resolves that the Chief Executive write to the Secretary of State requesting the government intervene and prioritise the nation’s mental health; that the government take into account the large and increasing numbers of mental health issues are happening during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Council requests that the government is made fully aware of the negative impact that these issues are having on people, their families and also the additional strain that is being brought to bear on the National Health Service, especially at this current time when their resources are stretched close to breaking point.

 

On being put to the vote, an amendment to the motion proposed by Councillor Sullivan and seconded by Councillor Winkler was lost.

 

On being put the vote, the substantive motion as proposed by Councillor Susan Smith and seconded by Councillor Meredith was carried and it was RESOLVED accordingly.

 

c)    Access to Information for Members

 

It was moved by Councillor Blundell and seconded by Councillor Sullivan that:

This Council believes that the first duty of Members of the Council is to represent the citizens of the Borough who elected them and to act as their advocates in accessing Council services or raising complaints when something goes wrong.

             

The Council is concerned that Members are not always able to effectively carry out this important cornerstone of democracy, because the Council’s procedures on handling Members’ requests for information are being operated in an overly restrictive way, is not transparent, are not aligned with the arrangements for dealing with Member enquires or service complaints.

 

The Council acknowledges that members and officers must comply with data protection laws, but we believe the current balance of rights and responsibilities under Council procedures needs to be adjusted to allow Members to do their job in the best interests of the citizens of the borough.

 

The Council therefore instructs the Chief Executive Officer to work with elected members to establish a working group including the members moving this motion to investigate these concerns, review the Council’s procedures and to make recommendations to Council and/or Cabinet as appropriate.

 

On being put the vote, the motion as moved by Councillor Blundell and seconded by Councillor Sullivan was carried and it was RESOLVED accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

d)    Street Harassment

 

It was moved by Councillor Davidson and seconded by Councillor Bamford that:

 

This Council is committed to making our Borough a safer place for everyone.

Council notes:

Public sexual harassment is the most common form of violence against women and girls, restricting their freedom of movement and expression; That in surveys two-thirds of women and girls report they have faced street harassment in the UK;

  • That street harassment in the UK is not covered by any specific offence, unlike in Portugal, Belgium and France.
  • That stopping street harassment would be a powerful step in tackling inequality and keeping women safe.
  • The incredible work of Our Streets Now, and their petition which has attracted over 200,000 signatures to make street harassment a specific crime.
  • That according to a report by Our Streets Now, only 14 per cent of pupils have been taught about public sexual harassment at school, and that 47 per cent of them would not report an incident of public sexual harassment to their school because they were afraid or feared they would not be taken seriously by staff.

 

Council recognises:

·         That we must create an environment where street harassment is seen and policed as a crime, and where girls feel safer on our streets.

·         That we need to work together with our schools to ensure that anyone who is harassed will feel confident that their report will be treated with the respect, care and seriousness that is required.

·         That changing the law, and education for our young people, are key planks in combating street harassment, establishing safer streets, and delivering equality.

 

 

 

 

Council resolves to:

·         Promote the Our Streets Now campaign to make street harassment a crime, and encourage all elected members, and residents to sign the petition.

·         Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Home Secretary to ask her to make street harassment a specific crime.

·         Ask the Chief Executive to write to the two MPs who cover the Borough, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester / Police and Crime Commissioner, to ask them to show their support for this campaign by signing the petition and by lobbying ministers to make street harassment a specific crime.

·         Ask all schools colleges in the Borough to each develop a clear policy on tackling harassment, separate to their bullying policy.

·         Ask all local schools to include education around public sexual harassment as part of their PSHE education.

·         Ensure that the recommendations of the Our Schools Now report are communicated to schools with a view to integrating their recommendations into their PSHE teaching.

 

An amendment to the motion, proposed by Councillor Cocks and seconded by Councillor Heakin was accepted by Councillor Davidson and therefore the substantive motion became as follows:

 

This Council is committed to making our Borough a safer place for everyone.

 

Council notes:

 

Public sexual harassment is the most common form of violence against women and girls, restricting their freedom of movement and expression; That in surveys two-thirds of women and girls report they have faced street harassment in the UK;

  • That street harassment in the UK is not covered by any specific offence, unlike in Portugal, Belgium and France.
  • That stopping street harassment would be a powerful step in tackling inequality and keeping women safe.
  • The incredible work of Our Streets Now, and their petition which has attracted over 200,000 signatures to make street harassment a specific crime.
  • That according to a report by Our Streets Now, only 14 per cent of pupils have been taught about public sexual harassment at school, and that 47 per cent of them would not report an incident of public sexual harassment to their school because they were afraid or feared they would not be taken seriously by staff.
  • That people also face public sexual harassment because of their Race, Sexuality and Gender Identification.

 

Council recognises:

·         That we must create an environment where street harassment is seen and policed as a crime, and where girls, feel safer on our streets.

·         That we must create an environment where street harassment is seen and policed as a crime where women, BAME and LGBT people feel safer on our streets;

·         That we need to work together with our schools to ensure that anyone who is harassed will feel confident that their report will be treated with the respect, care and seriousness that is required.

·         That changing the law, and education for our young people, are key planks in combating street harassment, establishing safer streets, and delivering equality.

 

Council resolves to:

·         Promote the Our Streets Now campaign to make street harassment a crime, and encourage all elected members, and residents to sign the petition.

·         Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Home Secretary to ask her to make street harassment a specific crime.

·         Ask the Chief Executive to write to the two MPs who cover the Borough, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester / Police and Crime Commissioner, to ask them to show their support for this campaign by signing the petition and by lobbying ministers to make street harassment a specific crime.

·         Ask all schools colleges in the Borough to each develop a clear policy on tackling harassment, separate to their bullying policy - with full council support

·         Ask all local schools to include education around public sexual harassment as part of their PSHE education.

·         Ensure that the recommendations of the Our Schools Now report are communicated to schools with a view to integrating their recommendations into their PSHE teaching.

·         Ask the Chief Executive to publish any responses publicly.

 

On being put the vote, the motion, as amended, was carried and it was RESOLVED accordingly.

 

Supporting documents: