Agenda and minutes

County Council
Wednesday 28 March 2018 10.00 am

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

Items
No. Item

13.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 14 February 2018

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 February 2018 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

14.

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.

15.

Announcements

a)    National Star College

            To congratulate all of the staff and students at National Star College, Ullenwood, the residential college for students with complex disabilities, for achieving an unprecedented double ‘Outstanding’ across all categories from OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission in their two recent inspections at the beginning of 2018. In addition, the College has received an outstanding financial health assessment from the Education and Skills Funding Agency. The College is one of Gloucestershire’s largest employers with over 930 full and part-time workers.

 

b)    General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) briefing

GDPR is the biggest change in data protection in the last 20 years.  On Friday, 27 April 2018, a briefing will be held for county and district Councillors in the Council Chamber.

 

c)    Growing our Community Fund

Council officers will be on hand over the lunch break to answer members’ questions on the new Growing our Community Fund.  Information on the fund has already been published in Members’ Matter.

 

d)    ICT support

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

members.

 

 

Minutes:

 

a)    New Director of Children’s Services

The Chair welcomed Chris Spencer, the Council’s new Director of Children’s Services.

 

b)   National Star College

The Chair congratulated all of the staff and students at the National Star College, the residential college for students with complex disabilities, for achieving an unprecedented double ‘Outstanding’ across all categories from OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission. In addition, the College had received an outstanding financial health assessment from the Education and Skills Funding Agency. The College was a large employer with over 930 full and part-time workers. 

 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson advised that the National Star College was in his county division and he had previously represented the area as a district councillor.  He said that it was an inspirational place that provided opportunities for young people with profound disabilities to go on and achieve so much more than they would be able to otherwise.    

 

c)    General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) briefing

GDPR was the biggest change in data protection in the last 20 years.  On Friday, 27 April 2018, a briefing would be held for county and district Councillors in the Council Chamber.

 

d)   Growing our Community Fund

Council officers would be on hand over the lunch break to answer members’ questions on the new Growing our Community Fund.  Information on the fund had already been published in Members’ Matter.

 

e)    Inclusion and diversity award for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service

A staff led Inclusive Network Group had won the National Excellence in Fire and Emergency ‘Team of the Year’ Award.  Last year the multi-disciplinary group won a coveted award from the Chartered Institute of Development for inclusion and diversity.

          

f)     Emergency telephone numbers for elected members

All members had been given the new pocket sized emergency telephone number list produced by the Council’s Civic Protection Team. 

 

g)   Children’s Services

There would be a display on the Children’s Services Improvement Plan and the Children’s Sufficiency Strategy outside the Council Chamber during the lunch break.

 

h)   One hundred years since the formation of the RAF

The Chair noted that there had been as many as 50 wartime airfield strips within the county and there remained today a number of military airfields. 

16.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 55 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, 21 March 2018.  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:

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

17.

Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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 referred to the important role of Ambassadors and the Children in Care Council in shaping support for children in care. 

He encouraged members to look at the display on the walls of the Members’ Room over the lunch period which told the story of the issues faced by children in care.

 

He undertook to arrange a member seminar on the progress made one year on from the Ofsted report on Children’s Services. He recognised the importance of having a named social worker for each child in care.  He said that managers were expected to ensure that an alternative social worker was available should the child’s normal social worker be absent from work for any reason.  He agreed to speak to Cllr Chris Coleman following the meeting about the particular concerns that he had.  

 

Cllr Colin Hay expressed serious concern that high dependency children were being placed in a facility in his division for children with low to moderate needs.  This was resulting in real problems for the children living there and people living nearby.  Cllr Boyles suggested that Cllr Hay check the licensing agreement with the planning authority and approach the organisations who were placing children there.  He undertook to speak to Cllr Hay following the meeting.  

 

A member reminded all members that they were Corporate Parents and she hoped that they would take the time to read the information on the posters in the Members’ Room.

 

Cllr Joe Harris paid tribute to Cllr Nigel Robbins and his wife, Stephanie, for their work in supporting child refugees in the county.  He expressed concern that the Government had cut the legal aid that was available for children who had arrived in the country.  He said that many of them had already gone through dreadful experiences.  Cllr Boyles undertook to meet with Cllr Harris following the meeting to see what could be done in terms of lobbying the Government.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

 

 

18.

Petitions

To receive petitions presented by members without discussion.

 

Minutes:

No petitions were presented by members.

19.

Cabinet Member Decision Statement pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To consider the decision statement for the period 1 to 28 February 2018 and the decision report by the Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Growth relating to the consultation response on the A417 Missing Link.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Lynden Stowe, the Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Growth, referred to the Cabinet Member Decision Report attached to the agenda.  He said that for more than four decades there had been a ‘Missing Link’ between the M4 and M5.  He stated that the severe traffic congestion on 5km of single carriageway on the A417 near Nettleton Bottom was stifling economic development in the county.  The ‘Missing Link’ had been identified as the highest priority in the County’s Strategic Development Plan and Local Transport Plan. He noted that there had been a number of fatalities on the road and air pollution was a serious problem for local residents.  Following comments made at the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee, the Council response would refer to the importance of noise attenuation further down the A419 and A417 as part of the scheme.

 

Cllr Stowe thanked officers for their work in recent years in supporting the ‘Missing Link’ Campaign.  He noted that route 30 had widespread support and he believed that it provided the best option.  It was supported by the county’s MPs, councils in Gloucestershire and further afield including Wiltshire, Swindon, Herefordshire and Worcestershire along with the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee and the Council’s Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee. He requested that all members support option 30 to give Highways England and the Government the strongest possible endorsement of the scheme.

 

A number of members spoke in support of option 30, noting the lobbying that had taken place over a number of years.  They recognised that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to fix the problems on the A419 which was a key route through the county towards Swindon, London and the South.  Local people had suffered the problems of air pollution and local roads being used as ‘rat runs’ for years.  They were pleased that the Cabinet Member had listened to concerns around road noise further down the A417 and A419 and this would be specifically referred to in the Council response. 

 

They recognised that a subterranean route was not a realistic option due to the huge additional cost, engineering difficulties and road safety issues associated with a tunnel running through the Cotswold escarpment at such a steep gradient.  They hoped that objections raised to the overland routes by the Cotswold Conservation Board would not delay the process.

 

A member noted that it was not just about the local economy but also about addressing road safety concerns as there had been numerous accidents, including a number of fatalities, over the years.  She said that people walking the Cotswold Way had to cross the road and there had been no mention of how this would take place during the construction of the road or after it had been completed. She requested that this be addressed.

 

Two members spoke against the construction of a new road and questioned why reduced speed limits enforced by cameras had not been introduced on the road.  For proper returns, they believed that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

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 time limit for member speeches was reduced from five minutes to three minutes as part of the constitution changes approved at the last full Council meeting.  However, please note that a member who puts forward a motion may speak to it for five minutes and a member presenting or answering questions on reports of committees or Cabinet may not speak for more than 10 minutes.

 

The following motions were received by the closing date of 20 March 2018: 

 

Motion 805 – New homes for rent

Proposed by Cllr Jeremy Hilton

Seconded by Cllr Joe Harris

 

This Council is aware that it owns a large amount of land and buildings across Gloucestershire, some of which is now surplus to operational requirements.

 

This council is also aware that there is a desperate need to build more affordable and social housing units in the county for people to rent.

 

This Council therefore asks the Cabinet Member for Finance and Change to draw up a Cabinet report on how this Council (working with district council housing authorities, the Homes and Communities Agency and registered social landlords) can use surplus County Council land and buildings to provide new homes to rent.

 

Motion 806 - Promoting Gloucestershire

Proposed by Cllr Colin Hay

Seconded by Cllr Bernie Fisher

 

This Council notes that the benefits of promoting the county are widely recognised. These include attracting new businesses and working age people to locate here for employment and attracting visitors. It should also be noted that there is much good work by individuals and organisations which promotes the county, but there seems to be no co-ordinated approach and no single body responsible.

 

Council therefore resolves to ask Leadership Gloucestershire to take on the responsibility to ensure that there is a single co-ordinated coherent strategy to promote Gloucestershire. The strategy will make known nationally and internationally the benefits we have in Gloucestershire and what the county seeks to be in the near future.

 

Motion 807 – Single use plastics

Proposed by Cllr Eva Ward

Seconded by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson

 

This Council notes:

·         An estimated 9 million tonnes of plastic enters our seas and oceans every year, causing immense damage to marine life and the environment.

 

·         That ‘single-use plastics’ (SUP) used once before disposal eg. bottles, cups and straws are not widely recycled.

 

·         That studies show that SUPs can take up to 600 years to degrade, breaking into fragments that cause damage to the environment and permeate the food chain (Columbia University).

 

This Council further notes:

·         That the Green Party has historically campaigned for a reduction in the use of SUPs and continues to champion sustainable alternatives.

 

·         The  ...  view the full agenda text for item 20.

Minutes:

Motion 805 – New homes for rent

Cllr Jeremy Hilton proposed and Cllr Joe Harris seconded the motion included on the agenda.

 

Cllr Hilton explained that the motion was not about giving away land but was requesting that the Cabinet Member work with District Councils, housing associations and Homes England to see whether land and building that had been identified as surplus to requirements could be used for social housing.  He noted that there were around 14,500 people on the housing waiting list in Gloucestershire, of which 4,000 were waiting for a house in Gloucester.  He referred to the problems for families who were living in temporary accommodation.  

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Harris noted that it was increasingly difficult for local people to find suitable accommodation in the county due to high house prices and private rental costs.  He believed that the real figure for people looking for affordable housing in the county was much higher than those on the housing waiting list because many people no longer bothered to register.  He said that one of the ways that the county could retain young people was to provide more affordable homes.  He was concerned that proposals to make the Cotswold area a National Park would simply make matters worse.

 

Cllr Ray Theodoulou proposed and Cllr Nigel Moor seconded the following amendment to the motion (see the shaded section for additional text):

 

This Council is aware that it owns a large amount of land and buildings across Gloucestershire, some of which is now surplus to operational requirements.

 

This Council is also aware that there is a desperate need to build more affordable and social housing units in the county for people to rent.

 

This Council therefore asks the Cabinet Member for Finance and Change to draw up a Cabinet report on how this Council (working with District Council housing authorities, the Homes and Communities Agency and registered social landlords) can use surplus County Council land and buildings to provide new homes to rent.

 

This Council notes:

 

·         That by far the greatest part of County Council land ownership is tenant occupied rural estate, which is not for sale.

·         Under the Local Government Act 1972 (Section 123), the Council is required to obtain ‘best consideration’ and that any undervalue disposal may be subject to state aid implications.

·         The County Council utilises the capital receipts of land sales for its capital programme to reduce debt (which releases revenue for front line services), fund investments in Highways and invest in other capital programmes as agreed by Council.

·         Delivery of housing is a District Council function, and the allocation of sites for housing development forms part of their statutory duties in producing a Local Development Plan.

 

That the County Council commits to continue to work with the District Councils in the delivery of transportation and infrastructure, and to support the appointment of the county-wide Planning Commissioner.

 

In the event joint opportunities are identified, the Council commits to working with the District Councils where appropriate to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Members' 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, 21 March 2018. 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 two member questions had been received.  The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 2 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked whether the Leader could guarantee that the Council would not be employing or remunerating a non-executive director at any stage?

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that in his tenure as Leader of the Council there would be no non-executive director appointments.

 

 

Question 3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how the 2017-18 spend on consultants compared to the same period in the previous year.

 

Cllr Ray Theodoulou stated that the total spend on consultants for the 2016-17 financial year was £1.469 million.

 

 

Question 4 – Cllr Bernie Fisher queried the advice he had been given around no longer seeing vehicles doing road repairs other than those operated by Gloucestershire Highways.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith stated that the new contract was looking to bring things more ‘in-house’ and that it would be up to each contractor to deliver effectively, but the team would have a uniform approach.

 

 

Question 5 – Cllr Bernie Fisher explained that the reported pothole figures he had been provided with were for ‘mild winters’ and that given the recent colder winter he would expect this to rise again. He expressed concern that the problem was not being solved.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith explained that bad weather would lead to increased defects and that the way to reduce potholes was through resurfacing. He was excited about the investment being made in Gloucestershire’s highways.

 

 

Question 6 – Cllr Bernie Fisher wished to draw the Member’s attention to Wyman’s Brook Estate which he explained had not been resurfaced since the 1970s and was seeing an increase in potholes.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he would be concerned if nothing had been done since 1970 under numerous previous Administrations.  He said  resurfacing crews were out in Cheltenham that day and that the minor works programme was in place to bring the networks up to standard. He explained that the member had the ability to use Highways Local funding and the new Growing Our Community fund for any schemes they felt would benefit their local area.

 

 

Question 7 – Cllr Bernie Fisher expressed concern that he had allocated his Highways Local money but was still waiting for the schemes to come to fruition.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith urged the member to collaborate with fellow Cheltenham members to put the funding to best use. He also suggested that the Urban Lengthsmen Team might be able to help.

 

 

Question 8 – Cllr Bernie Fisher was disappointed that he was unable to attend the site meeting regarding Charlton Hill and was concerned that £150m investment would not go towards resurfacing.  He also commented about the lack of response from Highways Officers.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith sated that officers were looking at the issues in Charlton Hill.  A long-term solution was needed because of the particular inclines and movements

 

 

Question 9 – Cllr Iain Dobie said that he had made his concerns clear about the need to enable pupils to walk and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Appointments Committee pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the Appointments Committee, to present the recommendation from the meeting held on 9 March 2018.

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Chair of the Appointments Committee, presented the recommendation from the meeting held on 9 March 2018 relating to the Pay Policy Statement.

 

The following resolution received unanimous support.

 

RESOLVED that the 2018-19 Pay Policy Statement presented to the Appointments Committee be approved.

23.

Scrutiny Report pdf icon PDF 147 KB

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

 

Minutes:

In the absence of Cllr Patrick Molyneux, the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, the Vice-chair of the committee, introduced the scrutiny report.  He said that the budget scrutiny process had been well received by members and he hoped that the same process would be followed in future years.  He noted that scrutiny had been looking at a number of important issues including the Ofsted Improvement Plan, the NHS Winter Plan and the A417 Missing Link. 

 

There was some discussion regarding a piece of scrutiny work being undertaken relating to a potential National Park for the Cotswolds.  Some members were anxious that the work should only be undertaken if there was support for a review from the Districts affected. Cllr Kevin Cromwell, Vice-chair of the Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee, advised that no decision had been made on undertaking a review and the matter was due to be discussed at the next meeting.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

24.

Constitution Committee pdf icon PDF 473 KB

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the Constitution Committee, to present the recommendations from the meeting held on 12 March 2018.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Chair of the Constitution Committee, presented the recommendations from the meeting held on 12 March 2018.

 

The following resolutions received unanimous support.

 

24.1    Gender-neutral language in the Constitution

 

            RESOLVED that the Constitution be amended to include:

a)    The use of gender-neutral language

b)    The use of ‘Chair’ instead of ‘Chairman’

c)    A note to clarify that the Chair of Council can, at the beginning of their term of office, choose to indicate how they wish to be addressed, according to personal preference.

 

24.2    Monitoring Officer changes to the Constitution

 

            RESOLVED that the changes to the Constitution by the Monitoring Officer shown at Annex A to the report be ratified.