Agenda and minutes

County Council
Wednesday 13 September 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Simon Harper 01452 324202 

Items
No. Item

55.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 458 KB

To confirm and sign the following minutes as a correct record:

 

a)    Ordinary Meeting – 28 June 2017

b)    Extraordinary Meeting for the appointment of Aldermen – 28 June 2017

c)    Extraordinary Meeting for consideration of the Ofsted report relating to Children’s Services 28 June 2017

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Ordinary Meeting and the two Extraordinary Meetings held on 28 June 2017 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

56.

Declarations of Interest

Please declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests that you may have relating to any specific matters which may be discussed at the meeting by signing the form that is available at the back of the Council Chamber.  Completing this form will be acceptable as a declaration, but members may also declare the interest orally if they so wish.

Minutes:

A copy of the declarations of interest is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.

57.

Chairman's announcements

Minutes:

a)     Know Your Place West of England Partnership

Officers from Gloucestershire Archives would be present at lunchtime to provide information on a new online resource that provided historic maps and linked data from the Historic Environment Record for Gloucestershire and neighbouring areas. 

 

b)     Members’ ICT

The Chairman informed members that  ICT staff would be available at lunchtime to help members with any ICT queries. 

58.

Public questions pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.

 

To answer any written public questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the County Council.

 

The closing date for receipt of questions is 10am on Wednesday, 6 September 2017.  Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email stephen.bace@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

 

To answer any oral questions put by members of the public with the consent of the Chairman.  Depending on the nature of the questions asked it may not be possible to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting, in which case a written answer will be supplied as soon as reasonably possible after the meeting.

 

Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.

Minutes:

Three public questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 1 – Diana Ray asked whether the County Council accepted that despite the policies in place, wildflower on verges was decreasing leading to a lower number of butterflies and other valued species.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that the Council worked closely with the bio-diversity plan and that he would ask officers to provide her with a written response.

 

 

Question 2 – Diana Ray suggested that the work carried out on verges did not match the policy. She asked whether the Council was aware that its own guidance notes were not being followed consistently by contractors. She emphasised the need for performance indicators that could be monitored.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith stated that he agreed that there was a need to follow the guidance and action plans and thanked the member of the public for raising the issues. He asked that she provide him with details of where she felt there were failings and he would ask officers to look into it.

 

 

Question 3 – Diana Ray informed members that Dorset had a more targeted approach around maintaining verges and she asked whether the Council could investigate how Dorset had achieved actual improvement on the ground.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith stated that he was really interested in how Dorset was working and was keen to see the details. He would ask officers to speak to Dorset.

 

 

Three oral questions were received:

 

Peter Clark stated that the Government had announced a 2% pay rise for the Police and a 1.7% pay rise for prison officers. He stated that the Government was looking to give further advice to pay bodies.  Officer pay squeezed amounting to an effective loss of earnings of over £3,000 from 2010 to 2017.

 

He asked if Gloucestershire County Council was planning pay rises for its own employees? He believed that social workers, home care and other vital staff in local government had borne the brunt of austerity. 

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne explained that there was a motion on the agenda where this would be part of the discussion. He stated that the Government was looking to give further advice to pay bodies.  Officer pay was something that continued to be looked at across the sector by the Council and the Local Government Association.   

 

 

Carol Kambites explained that she had been told that the electrical connection to the Javelin Park incinerator would be taken down Stonehouse High Street, causing disruption to residents, traders and motorists, despite an alternative route being available

 

She asked that, given that the decision had been made on the grounds of a cost calculation by UBB, had the Council seen a breakdown of the calculation and did it include the cost of the contract over-running? Secondly, did councillors believe that the people and traders of Stonehouse should be compensated for the disruption?

 

Cllr Nigel Moor stated that the decisions had been made by UBB, but that he would take up the issues raised and provide a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

59.

Petitions

To receive petitions presented by members without discussion.

Minutes:

Cllr Chris Coleman informed members that he had received an e-petition calling upon the County Council to install a safe informal crossing point on St George’s Road, Cheltenham in the vicinity of the Underwood Surgery and Jenner Court.  He requested that the petition be forwarded to Cllr Vernon Smith, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, following the meeting.

60.

Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 89 KB

For information and members’ questions.

 

Report from Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report.  He stated that there were currently 638 children in care in the county and the number was steadily rising in common with other areas.  He was anxious above all else to ensure that the right placement at the right time was provided for every child who needed a placement away from home.

 

In terms of the Ofsted report, he said that an improvement plan would be presented to the Cabinet on 18 September 2017.  An Improvement Board with cross party representation had held its first meeting.  Essex County Council had been appointed as the Council’s improvement partner.  Updates were being provided to members through overview and scrutiny.  He recognised that some thought needed to be given on how the Council should engage with members of the public.

 

Answering questions, Cllr Boyles stated that John Goldup, Chairman of the Improvement Board, was pleased with progress and he accepted that there were legacy issues to deal with in some areas before the Council could move forward.  He confirmed that there was a protocol for members to be informed of incidents in their own areas.  He said that he would ask the Director of Children’s Services to inform members.

 

Cllr Boyles stated that the breakdown of the children in care numbers included in the report was inaccurate.  He said that of the 249 children placed in external provision,  139 were with independent fostering agencies, 60 were in children’s residential care and a further 50 were predominantly in supported living.  He noted that 72 of the 249 children were accommodated outside the county.

 

In terms of the increase in the number of children in care, he explained that this was a result of a combination of factors including new working practices and a rise in the incidence of mental health illnesses.   

 

Referring to children’s social workers, he said that there were currently 42 vacancies and all but 17 were filled by agency staff. 

 

A member asked how many members had signed the Corporate Parenting Pledge.  Cllr Boyles undertook to provide the information following the meeting.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

61.

Motions

The Council’s Constitution provides for a maximum of two hours for debate on motions.  At the end of the two hour period, those members who have already indicated their intention to speak on the motion being debated at that time will be allowed to speak, the mover of the motion will be asked to sum-up and the vote will be taken.

 

The following motions were received by the closing date of 5 September 2017:

 

Motion 797 – Care staff and the National Minimum Wage 

Proposed by Cllr Jack Williams

Seconded by Cllr Iain Dobie    

This Council praises the work of all care staff across Gloucestershire either employed directly by this Council or through an independent care provider.

This Council notes the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a right, not a privilege, which all UK workers are entitled to unless covered by a specific exemption.

This Council is concerned that there are still a minority of workers (namely care staff working for independent care providers) that may well be contracted by this Council delivering care who still do not receive their full NMW entitlement.

This Council agrees that under-payment of the NMW – whether as an intentional act or as a result of ignorance or error - is unacceptable.

This Council welcomes a full review of the employment practices of all those care providers being used by this council to ensure that all care staff are paid at or above hourly NMW rates.

This Council requests the findings of this review to be brought back to this Council in the form of a report with recommendations for member discussion by the end of the year.

Motion 799 - Public sector pay

Proposed by Cllr Brian Oosthuysen

Seconded by Cllr Kate Haigh

 

This Council recognises the important contribution that public sector workers contribute to our communities.

 

The Council particularly acknowledges the vital work of our emergency services, both in Gloucestershire and across the country, especially in the light of recent tragedies where emergency services have gone above and beyond.

 

The Council believes that asking public sector workers to continue to accept declining living standards and differentials is not fair or justifiable. Every worker deserves fair pay.

This Council resolves to write to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State of Communities and Local Government, and Gloucestershire’s six MPs to lobby for the lifting of the public sector pay cap, and all artificial limits on pay and conditions in Local Government.

Motion 798 - Gloucestershire flood and community resilience

Proposed by Cllr Kate Haigh

Seconded by Cllr Lesley Williams

 

This Council recognises that 10 years has passed since the 2007 Gloucestershire floods. In the aftermath of the flood a scrutiny document was produced and a number of flood alleviation works were funded. Now is an appropriate time for this Council to review that report and to consider where further works are needed, and if we are still following best practice. We also ask that any report examines the  ...  view the full agenda text for item 61.

Minutes:

Motion 797 – Care staff and the National Minimum Wage

 

Those councillors who had declared a disclosable pecuniary interest on the interest sheet in the council chamber left the meeting for the consideration of this item.

 

The Monitoring Officer advised that it was the individual responsibility of members to declare any interest they had in matters being considered at the meeting.  She explained that members were required to declare disclosable pecuniary interests by law.  Disclosable pecuniary interests related to the financial interests of the member and their wife, husband or partner.  Members with disclosable pecuniary interests were required to leave the chamber but for personal interests they could remain in the chamber, take part in the debate and vote.  

 

Cllr David Brown proposed and Cllr Iain Dobie seconded the following motion:

 

This Council praises the work of all care staff across Gloucestershire either employed directly by this Council or through an independent care provider.

 

This Council notes the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a right, not a privilege, which all UK workers are entitled to unless covered by a specific exemption.

 

This Council is concerned that there are still a minority of workers (namely care staff working for independent care providers) that may well be contracted by this Council delivering care who still do not receive their full NMW entitlement.

 

This Council agrees that under-payment of the NMW – whether as an intentional act or as a result of ignorance or error - is unacceptable.

 

This Council welcomes a full review of the employment practices of all those care providers being used by this council to ensure that all care staff are paid at or above hourly NMW rates.

 

This Council requests the findings of this review to be brought back to this Council in the form of a report with recommendations for member discussion by the end of the year.

 

In moving the motion, Cllr Brown stated that the national minimum wage for care staff was a legal right.  He noted that the Care Act 2014 required local authorities to seek evidence that care staff were being remunerated at a level that enabled an effective work force to be maintained.  Research in 2013-14 indicated that 160,000 care staff were losing an average of £800 each year because they were not paid for travelling time.

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Dobie said that the Council’s duty of care did not end when outside providers were employed to deliver services on its behalf.  He believed that the way that Cleeve Link operated before it collapsed was exploitative as staff were not paid travelling time between appointments.  He was concerned at the impact on vulnerable people and was anxious that a similar situation did not arise again.

 

A motion without notice was proposed and seconded under procedure rule 12.1.13 to refer the subject of the motion to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, without further debate.

 

On being put to the vote, the motion was defeated.

 

A member stated that an earlier  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Member questions pdf icon PDF 119 KB

 

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.

 

To answer any written member questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the County Council.

 

The closing date for receipt of questions is 10am on Wednesday, 6 September 2017. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email stephen.bace@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

 

Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Thirty six member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 1 -  Cllr Iain Dobie asked that the Leader ask Democratic Services to ensure they had alternative phone number and email address so all members could be updated in the event of issues such as the ICT disruption that had occurred.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne  stated that this had now been put in place. The previous ICT issues should not have occurred and work was underway to prevent similar incidents.

 

 

Question 2 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked how much working time had been lost by staff at Shire Hall and those working remotely due to the failure.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne explained that no officer had been tasked to do that analysis. The Blackberry Work outage had effected around 350 members and officers. Most staff had alternative access routes and the worse effected had been members.

 

 

Question 4 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked if the Cabinet Member could provide more information including a detailed breakdown on the £400k extra support to people with disabilities.

 

Cllr Roger Wilson stated that he would provide the member with the information. He explained that the vast majority was for continued provision for community drop in and support to carry out Hate Crime awareness sessions.

 

 

Question 7 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson explained that the member’s answer which stated that the ‘Old A40’ was a priority site contradicted what he had heard from council officers. He asked for clarification as to what ‘priority site’ meant in terms of timescale.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he understood the frustration of the member and residents. He explained that all landslips were classed as a priority and needed to be evaluated. New photographs of the site suggested that there was still movement of the soil, once that movement had stopped work would begin to resolve the issue.

 

 

Question 8 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson informed the member of some of the recommendations coming out of the A429 Task Group including asset management, signage, air quality monitoring and speed limits being reviewed. He asked for an update on what had happened in response.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor confirmed that an in depth study had been commissioned a number of months ago to report by the end of the year. This report would examine all of the issues brought forward by the group. He was happy to share the consultant’s brief with the member.  Cllr Moor also congratulated all those involved in the Tour of Britain leg in Gloucestershire.

 

 

Question 9 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson  explained that as recently as February the Cabinet Member had said that he would extend a warm welcome to Donald Trump visiting the area, what had changed?

 

Cllr Lynden Stowe replied that the issuing of invites to heads of foreign states was a matter for the Royal Visits Committee.

 

 

Question 10 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked what contingency plan was in place for the impact of Brexit and where this plan could be seen.

 

Cllr Lynden  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Annual Report pdf icon PDF 854 KB

Cllr David Norman to present the SHE Annual Report.

Minutes:

The Chairman thanked the SHE Team for their dedication and hard work.

 

Cllr David Norman, member of the SHE Panel, presented the Safety, Health and Environment 2016-17 Annual Report.  He paid tribute to Paul Cobb, SHE Manager, for his leadership of the team.

 

RESOLVED to note the SHE Annual Report for 2016-17.

64.

Scrutiny report pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Cllr Patrick Molyneux, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to present the scrutiny report.

Minutes:

Cllr Patrick Molyneux, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, presented the report.

 

Cllr Molyneux stated that the Council had an excellent reputation for scrutiny and, following discussion at the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, there was no appetite for a peer review of scrutiny at the present time.  He agreed, however, to keep the matter under review. 

 

Cllr Dave Norman, Chairman of the Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said that the committee had not had any detailed discussions around Brexit but it would be picked up when particular issues were discussed.  He stated that the committee would be holding meetings in the districts to allow local members to raise issues relating to economic development.

 

A member requested that consideration also be given to holding meetings of the Economic Growth Joint Committee in the districts.

 

Another member noted the importance of promoting Gloucestershire and he referred to how the recent Tour of Britain cycle race had showcased the county with people from across the World watching the television coverage.  He said that it was not just about tourism but about attracting young people to live and work in the county.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

65.

Cabinet Decision Statement pdf icon PDF 109 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Cabinet Decision Statements from the Cabinet meetings held on 19 June and 19 July 2017.

66.

Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements pdf icon PDF 95 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Individual Cabinet Decision Statements for the period 1 June to 3 August 2017.