Agenda and minutes

County Council
Wednesday 6 December 2017 10.00 am

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

Contact: Simon Harper 01452 324202 

Items
No. Item

67.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 196 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2017 as a correct record.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2017 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

68.

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.

69.

Chairman's announcements

a)    Cllr Jim Parsons

To stand in silence as a mark of respect to Cllr Jim Parsons who passed away on 14 September 2017.  Jim had been a longstanding member of Cotswold District Council and had been their representative on the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee for a number of years.

 

b)    Gloucestershire Archives

UNESCO has informed the Council that an African slave song held by Gloucestershire Archives has been included in the Memory of the World Register.  The song came from the sugar plantations of Barbados and was written down in the late 18th Century by anti-slave trade campaigner Granville Sharp who had Gloucestershire descendants.  Although the document is over 200 years old, it is a timely reminder that the fight against modern day slavery continues across the World today.

 

c)    Libraries and Information Digital Innovation display

From self-service machines to 3D printers libraries are using digital solutions to promote smarter working for staff, opportunities for young people to develop coding skills, support businesses and help residents to become digitally confident.  A display will be on the landing outside the Council Chamber during the lunch break.

 

d)    ICT support

Staff from ICT will be on hand over the lunch break to provide advice to members.

 

Minutes:

a)        Cllr Jim Parsons

          The Chairman invited members to stand in silence as a mark of respect to Cllr Jim Parsons who had passed away on 14 September 2017.  Jim had been a longstanding member of Cotswold District Council and had been their representative on the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee for a number of years.

 

b)        Gloucestershire Archives

          UNESCO had informed the Council that an African slave song held by Gloucestershire Archives had been included in the Memory of the World Register.  The song came from the sugar plantations of Barbados and was written down in the late 18th Century by anti-slave trade campaigner Granville Sharp who had Gloucestershire descendants.  Although the document was over 200 years old, it was a timely reminder that the fight against modern day slavery continued across the World today.  It was agreed that the words of the song would be made available after the meeting through Members’ Matter.

 

         

 

c)         Libraries and Information Digital Innovation display

          From self-service machines to 3D printers libraries were now using digital solutions to promote smarter working for staff, opportunities for young people to develop coding skills, support businesses and help residents to become digitally confident.  A display would be on the landing outside the Council Chamber during the lunch break.

 

70.

Public questions

Minutes:

Fourteen public questions had been received. No supplementary questions were asked.

 

 

71.

Petitions

To receive petitions presented by members without discussion.

Minutes:

No petitions were received.

72.

Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 99 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, referred to the importance of the Virtual School in supporting children in care.  The Gloucestershire Virtual School was one of only three schools to receive a national award from Achievement for All in the Celebrating Every Child Awards 2017.  He hoped that members would make an effort to attend Virtual School events.  He asked members who had not allocated all of their Children’s Activity Fund to consider contributing the balance to the Virtual School.    

 

A member expressed concern that, given the Ofsted report, some members had still not signed the Corporate Parenting Pledge.

 

Another member believed that members should be kept better informed regarding children in care with invites being sent to events. He felt that this was more important than signing a pledge.

 

Cllr Boyles stated that the Corporate Parenting web pages included details of all the events due to be held over the coming year.  However, he undertook to speak to officers about how they could engage more with members and keep them better informed.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

73.

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 27 November 2017:

 

Motion 800 - Adoption and promotion of electric vehicles

Proposed by Cllr Rachel Smith

Seconded by Cllr Iain Dobie

 

This Council notes the great importance of good air quality to public health and wellbeing in Gloucestershire. Poor air quality not only contributes to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year, but also limits uptake of cycling, and reduces pedestrian numbers - harming wider public health goals.

 

This Council notes that a leading cause of air pollution is vehicle emissions. This Council further notes that air quality monitoring is a district responsibility, but that air quality issues need a co-ordinated approach between all local authorities in order to reduce unnecessary deaths from poor air quality and cut carbon emissions.

 

Councillors agree that more can be done through this authority to combat poor air quality, and welcome the formation of an air quality task group. Recognising the urgency of the problem of both air pollution and carbon emissions, this Council:

a)      Commits to moving to electric or low emission options wherever possible for all direct or indirectly operated council vehicles at the earliest opportunity.

b)      Commits to replacing 10% of the vehicles within its fleet (owned or leased) with electric or low emission vehicles by 2019.

c)      Commits to establishing principles for use in procurement to encourage use of electric or low emission vehicles by Council contractors.

d)      Commits to engaging with district councils and other relevant stakeholders to promote adoption of electric and low emission vehicles, including through identifying schemes, funding and other incentives for provision of publicly accessible EV charging points, and EV charging points in new housing developments.

 

 

Motion 801 - Votes at 16

Proposed by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson

Seconded by Cllr Klara Sudbury

 

This Council notes that currently 1.5 million 16 and 17 year olds are denied the vote in public elections in the UK.

 

This Council recognises that 16 and 17 year olds are knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live and are as capable of engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen.

 

This Council believes people who can consent to medical treatment, work full-time, pay taxes, get married or enter a civil partnership and join the armed forces should also have the right to vote.

 

This Council therefore requests the Leader of this Council to write to all six Gloucestershire MPs asking that a letter be written to county representatives of the Youth Parliament to express support in lowering the voting age to 16.

 

 

Motion 802 – Increase in the State Pension Age for Women

Proposed  ...  view the full agenda text for item 73.

Minutes:

Motion 800 - Adoption and promotion of electric vehicles

Cllr Rachel Smith proposed and Cllr Iain Dobie seconded the motion included on the agenda.

 

Cllr Smith thanked officers for their support in providing information relating to the motion.  She said that that the main drivers for electric vehicles were climate change, air quality and cost savings.  She believed that it was incumbent on the Council to set an example.  She noted that electric vehicles worked out cheaper to run over four years with even greater savings achievable over the longer term.  The Council had direct control over 90 vehicles and provided funding for 825 taxis and buses.  She stated that changes to procurement practices were essential to ensure that school buses were more energy efficient and less polluting.  She referred to a number of other local authorities that were already using electric vehicles.  These included the London Fire Brigade, Oxford City Council, Lewes District Council, Portsmouth City Council, Westminister City Council, the London Borough of Havering and Cornwall Council.

 

Cllr Dobie explained that the motion aimed to nudge the Council in the right direction. He noted that, following an amendment to the Council’s budget, residents with electric vehicles now benefited from free residents’ parking.  He said that a commitment to convert 10% of Council vehicles to electric over two years equated to just nine vehicles.  He believed that bus companies should commit to reducing pollution by running cleaner vehicles.  He noted the poor air quality outside Leckhampton School which had been recorded as the worst outside a school in the county.  He was anxious that the Council committed to concrete action by supporting this Public Health motion.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor, the Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure, was already committed to reducing carbon emissions.  He referred to the introduction of LED street lighting across the county and the reuse of energy at the Javelin Park residual waste facility.  He recognised the importance of electric vehicles in reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.  He said that the Council was already looking to provide more charging points across the county.  He noted that the majority of vehicles operated by the Council were vans and HGVs and there were currently limited opportunities to replace them with electric vehicles.  He stated that a scrutiny task group chaired by Cllr Jeremy Hilton was looking at air quality and this would allow opportunities to be considered.

 

The meeting was adjourned for a short period while Group Leaders considered an amendment to the motion.

 

Cllr Smith and Cllr Dobie accepted the following changes to the motion (see the highlighted text):

 

This Council notes the great importance of good air quality to public health and wellbeing in Gloucestershire. Poor air quality not only contributes to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year, but also limits uptake of cycling, and reduces pedestrian numbers - harming wider public health goals.

 

This Council further welcomes the £500m allocated to support Electric Vehicles by the Chancellor in the recent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

Blue Badge (Disabled Persons' Parking) Scheme pdf icon PDF 286 KB

At the full Council meeting on 22 March 2017, the following motion was supported:

 

This Council recognises that regulations over who can and cannot get a Bue Badge are getting much stricter. As a Council we believe everyone who needs a Blue Badge should be able to get one.

 

This Council commits to review its Blue Badge Policy criteria and will invite all

relevant community groups and interested partners to an open consultation over how we can make this service more accessible.

 

A report from the Chief Executive is attached for consideration by members.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Executive responding to the following motion which was passed by the Council on 22 March 2017:

 

This Council recognises that regulations over who can and cannot get a blue badge are getting much stricter.  As a Council we believe everyone who needs a blue badge should be able to get one.

 

This Council commits to review its Blue Badge Policy criteria and will invite all relevant community groups and interested partners to an open consultation over how we can make this service more accessible.

 

Cllr Lesley Williams, who had moved the original motion, thanked officers for producing the report.  She noted that the Department for Transport was currently reviewing eligibility criteria regarding ‘non-mobility disability’ and the outcome of this process needed to be known before looking at the local scheme. 

 

A member expressed concern regarding the time it had taken someone to get their blue badge renewed. He said that it had only been resolved after he had intervened.

 

Another member believed that there needed to be a better understanding of where people with blue badges could and could not park.  He stated that there was confusion amongst road users and this was causing unnecessary tensions.  He felt that the Council could do more to inform people and he suggested that, on occasions, it might be better to provide advice to blue badge holders and other road users rather than just ticketing cars.

 

RESOLVED that the report of the Chief Executive be noted.

 

75.

Member questions pdf icon PDF 105 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, 29 November 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:

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

 

Question 1 – Cllr Bernie Fisher asked when the problem around the subsidence on the A438 would be resolved as this had been an issue for four years.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith stated that he understood the frustration with landslips and that action with regards to this was prioritised, with the best way forward considered. This particular landslip was a complex one and he would be happy to meet with the member and officers at the site to discuss further. 

 

 

Question 3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson stated that his question related to serious abuse of children and that he was asking for a summary made publically available of the visits made by council officers to Dowdeswell Court and Badgeworth Court to ensure it was on public record. 

 

Cllr Richard Boyles replied that he was happy to share the detail he had been provided with by officers. Records showed that the visits were made by senior officers in relation to placements by the County Council and other local authorities. The records did not categorise the nature of concern, but they were regarding staffing. The law around record keeping was not as robust back then.

 

 

Question 4 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked why, after a series of events, Gloucestershire County Council had failed to inform other councils of the concern. This was despite convictions and charges being brought around child sexual abuse. The member suggested that information had been given to the Council and that it had failed to act.

 

Cllr Richard Boyles explained that records showed that Gloucestershire County Council did send messages to other councils with regards to incidents. He stated that he was happy to work with officers and the police if an investigation was being carried out on these matters. It was important that the police were given the opportunity to carry out their investigations fully.

 

 

Question 5 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson explained that freedom of information requests to 40 councils had shown no record of any warnings or activity. He asked what the Cabinet Member could do to reassure victims?

 

Cllr Richard Boyles replied that he would work with the police and partners fully. He was sympathetic to the victims. He explained that he could not comment on the activity of the Council in terms of communicating with other councils on this matter in the 1960s and 1970s. He could only focus on assisting with any current investigation.

 

 

Question 6 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson stated that he had been provided with information that two County Councillors had been members of the advisory board which was part of the Badgeworth Court School.  He had reservations about the information given in the written answer.

 

Cllr Richard Boyles replied that he had shared all the information he had on the matter and that the Council did not have significant records of that period. He explained that the responsibility of licencing for the school during that time was the Department  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

Scrutiny report pdf icon PDF 186 KB

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

Minutes:

In presenting the report, Cllr Patrick Molyneux, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, advised that the committee had considered care workers and the national living wage following the motion passed at the last full Council meeting.  He said that a Budget Scrutiny day would be held on 10 January 2018 and all members were welcome to attend.  He confirmed that it would be held in public and Cabinet Members would be in attendance for the scrutiny of their service areas. 

 

A member noted that a children’s centre in his division had been rated by Ofsted as outstanding and he said that he was confused why there continued to be references to children’s centres not reaching vulnerable groups.  Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Leader of the Council, recognised that many children’s centres were delivering good services to those families who were using them.  However, he said that there remained questions as to whether they were reaching the most vulnerable families. 

 

Cllr Brian Robinson, the Chairman of the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee, advised that the committee had received a number of reports on the Children’s Services Improvement Plan.  He said that progress was being made, albeit it was not as fast as Ofsted would like.

 

Cllr Carole Allaway-Martin, the Chair of the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, stated that the committee would be receiving a progress report on the NHS Winter Plan as its meeting in January 2018.  She undertook to consider whether the committee should scrutinise the Health and Wellbeing Board’s activities. 

 

Cllr Rob Bird, the Chairman of the Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, explained that the Minerals Local Plan was worded in such a way that it addressed the main issues for Gloucestershire, namely sand and gravel extraction.  There was no detailed assessment criteria for applications for mineral and gas extraction and this would need to be addressed should the need arise in future.

 

A member noted that the Police and Crime Commissioner was in discussion with HM Courts and Tribunal Services about the possibility of providing a new facility at Waterwells.  Another member hoped that there would be an opportunity to scrutinise any decisions on the location of a new court facility.  He believed that it would be best located in Gloucester City centre as it would be more accessible to local residents.  Cllr Will Windsor Clive, the Chairman of the Police and Crime Panel, advised that this was not the business of the panel and members should make their views known to officers and partners involved in estate management.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

77.

Gloucestershire Local Government Pension Fund Annual Report 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Chairman of the Pension Committee, to present the Pension Fund Annual Report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In presenting the report, Cllr Ray Theodoulou, the Chairman of the Pension Committee, thanked the members of the committee and officers for their support through 2016-17.  He acknowledged the role of the Pension Board who had made some useful recommendations to the committee during the year.  He stated that the Gloucestershire Local Government Pension Scheme had joined nine other public sector schemes as part of the Brunel Pension Partnership. 

 

Answering questions, Cllr Theodoulou recognised the importance of choosing the right actuary.  He noted that relatively small changes to actuarial rates had a significant impact on the revenue budgets of member authorities.  He said that he did not anticipate any major impact from three local authorities transferring their staff into the new Publica Company.

 

RESOLVED that the Pension Fund Annual Report and the Pension Board Annual Report be noted.

 

78.

Constitution Committee report pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the Constitution Committee, to present the recommendations from the meeting held on 9 October 2017.

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Chairman of the Constitution Committee, presented the recommendations from the meeting held on 9 October 2017.

 

78.1      Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee

An amendment to the recommendation was proposed that the committee chair should be determined by members of the opposition groups.  Cllr Hawthorne questioned whether this was lawful.

 

With the support of Council, the recommendation was referred back to the Constitution Committee for further consideration.

 

78.2      Gloucestershire Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee

RESOLVED that the constitution be amended, as set out in annex B to the report, to include the requirement for the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee to review the decisions, plans and policies of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee.

 

78.3      Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board

A member expressed concern regarding the removal of opposition members from the board.  He believed that only having one political group represented on the board was not good for local democracy.  He called for the new arrangements to be reviewed after a suitable period.

 

RESOLVED that the revised terms of reference for the Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board, as set out in annex C to the report, be approved and adopted.

 

78.4      Oral questions at full Council

An amendment to the recommendation was proposed to retain the 30 minute notice prior to the meeting for oral questions from the public.  Cllr Hawthorne advised that the change to 12 noon the day before would allow a proper answer to be provided rather than a written answer after the meeting.  On being put to the vote, the amendment was defeated.

 

RESOLVED that procedural standing orders in section 9 of part 4 of the constitution be amended as indicated in annex D to the report. 

 

78.5      Motions at meetings of full Council

It was noted that some changes to the length of speeches had been suggested at Group Leaders and this would be considered at the next meeting of the Constitution Committee.

 

78.6      Employee Code of Conduct

RESOLVED that the revised Employee Code of Conduct, as set out in annex E to the report, be approved and adopted.

 

78.7      Monitoring Officer changes to the constitution

RESOLVED that the changes to the constitution by the Monitoring Officer shown at annexes F, G and H be ratified. 

 

 

79.

Cabinet Decision Statement pdf icon PDF 79 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Cabinet Decision Statements from the Cabinet meetings held on 18 September, 27 September and 15 November 2017.

80.

Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements pdf icon PDF 69 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Individual Cabinet Decision Statements for the period 1 September to 30 November 2017.