Agenda item

Questions at Cabinet Meetings

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.

 

Written questions

 

To answer any written questions from a County Councillor, (or any person living or working in the county, or is affected by the work of the County Council), about any matter which relates to any item on the agenda for the meeting.

 

The closing date for the receipt of questions was 4.00 pm on Thursday 13 June 2019

 

To discuss any questions relating to this meeting, please contact jo.moore@gloucestershire.gov.uk

 

A written answer will be provided for each question and presented to the questioner and to Cabinet Members in advance of the meeting. The questions and answers will be taken as read at the meeting. At the discretion of the Leader of Council, each questioner in attendance at the meeting will be allowed to ask one supplementary question in response to the answer to the original question.

 

A copy of the questions and answers circulated at the meeting will be attached to the signed copy of the minutes of the meeting.

 

Urgent questions

 

An urgent written question may be asked by a member of the public about any item on the Cabinet agenda for that meeting which the Chairperson considers could not have been reasonably submitted by the deadline for the receipt of written questions, provided he or she gives notice of the question to the Chief Executive by 12 noon on the day before the meeting.

 

Minutes:

A total of 9 (public) questions and 13 member questions were submitted for consideration prior to the meeting.

 

Please refer to the link below to view the responses to the questions: -

 

http://192.168.220.171:9071/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=117&MId=9228&Ver=4   

 

If unable to access the document at the link above, please go to the link below and select the ‘Cabinet Questions and Answers’ PDF document at the top of the web page: - 

 

http://192.168.220.171:9071/documents/b15591/Cabinet%20Questions%20and%20Answers%20Wednesday%2019-Jun-2019%2010.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=9 

 

The following supplementary questions were asked at the meeting.

 

Public Questions:

 

Question 1: Cllr David Willingham (Cheltenham Borough Councillor)

 

Agenda Item 14: Gloucestershire Child Safeguarding Arrangements: Working Together (2018)

 

Cllr Willingham stated that the answer to his question had suggested that the statutory minimum stipulated by government guidance on safeguarding arrangements was ‘good enough’. Cllr Willingham questioned whether the council had learned lessons from Rotherham Borough Council and asked if Cllr Boyles would include ‘Safeguarding through Licensing’ in the council’s proposed Working Together document and arrangements for safeguarding children.

 

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People)

 

Cllr Boyles explained that, during the past couple of years, the council had been in recovery from the Ofsted inspection, with lots of examples of where Gloucestershire had created its own interpretations of guidance, which had not always turned out to been helpful. Cllr Boyles believed it was important to stick to the guidance provided in respect of Working Together and unnecessary to confuse people by considering alterations to the arrangements.  

 

Question 3: Cllr David Willingham (Cheltenham Borough Councillor)

 

Agenda Item 14: Gloucestershire Child Safeguarding Arrangements: Working Together (2018)

 

Cllr Willingham questioned why, if service level agreements and quality assurance processes agreed with other authorities for the issuing of licenses were being adhered to, why did child safeguarding situations arise?

 

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People)

 

Cllr Boyles stated that the council had clear data sharing policies for the safeguarding and protection of children and followed clear guidance for working with multi agency partners. Cllr Boyles stressed the importance of working together for the safeguarding of children and confirmed that the council had mechanisms in place for the sharing of data with other authorities. He informed Cllr Willingham that several offers had been made to Cheltenham Borough Council to meet to discuss and assist with any issues, but that this had not been taken up. Cllr Boyles assured Cllr Willingham the council had clear protocols in place for the sharing of data.

 

Question 4:Cllr David Willingham (Cheltenham Borough Councillor)

 

Agenda Item 14: Gloucestershire Child Safeguarding Arrangements: Working Together (2018)

 

Cllr Willingham suggested that the protocol for the sharing of data was not working effectively and that on two occasions the process had been unacceptable. Cllr Willingham requested that Cllr Boyles set up a cabinet working group or a cross party task and finish group to consider the issues he had expressed concern about, involving everyone.

 

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People)

 

Cllr Boyles confirmed that the Director for Children’s Services at Gloucestershire County Council was committed, as required, to ensuring all District Authorities worked together. Endorsing Cllr Willingham’s comments that it was important for local authorities to work together, Cllr Boyles stated that offers had been made to other authorities to work together using a homogenised approach. He stated that he was satisfied that the approach the council was using and the procedures that had been put in place were the right ones.

 

Question 7: Tim Davies

 

Agenda Item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

Mr Davies suggested it would be helpful if future descriptions of transfers could be explicit about the source and destination of each transfer. This would avoid any ambiguity. Based on the £1.534m underspend in 2018/19, Mr Smith asked Cllr Stowe to explain the reasons for the underspend for the residual waste project budget 2018/19?

Response by: Cllr Lynden Stowe (Cabinet Member for Finance and Change)

 

Cllr Stowe agreed to provide a written response to the question after the meeting.  

 

Question 8: Tim Davies

 

Agenda Item 6: Procurement and Award of Contracts for the Bulking, Haulage and Treatment of Garden Waste.

Mr Smith said it was good criteria that was attached to the procurement. Mr Smith asked the cabinet member to confirm whether or not the principles committed to in 2017 had been adhered to and had been applied as a standard part of the procurement process? 

 

Response by: Cllr Nigel Moor (Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning)

 

Cllr Moor confirmed the matter was included in a decision report to be considered later in the meeting and as part of the council’s review of its protocols and procedures.

 

Question 9: Tim Davies

 

Agenda Item 13: Food Waste Collection and Delivery Agreements

Mr Davies supported the proposition that there was no reason to suspect that a reduction of £300k to cash-strapped district authorities would lead to cuts in food waste collection.

 

Reiterating part b) of his question, Mr Davies asked whether cuts to food waste incentives would lead to a rise in residual waste and if this would result in cost savings or higher costs on the Council as waste disposal authority?

 

Response by: Cllr Nigel Moor (Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning)

 

Cllr Moor referred to a very constructive discussion that had taken place at the Joint Waste Committee work planning meeting the previous day, involving nearly all district authorities.  Cllr Moor confirmed that discussions with district councils would continue, with the aim of seeking a revised and fairer system of payment for food waste collections. Cllr Moor was, however, unable to speculate on the outcome of the discussions.

 

Member Questions

 

Question 1: Cllr Iain Dobie

 

Agenda item 11: Commissioning for Residential and Nursing Care Home Provision in Gloucestershire

Cllr Dobie asked if Cllr Wilson would consider opening the report up to the public and asked what date this might be?

Response by: Cllr Roger Wilson (Cabinet Member - Adult Social Care: Commissioning)

 

Cllr Wilson advised that no date had been set. Dependent on the outcome of the decision at today’s meeting, there was no reason to delay setting a date.

 

Question 2: Cllr Kate Haigh

 

Agenda item 11: Commissioning for Residential and Nursing Care Home Provision in Gloucestershire

 

Cllr Haigh expressed concern that the decision today was being made based on aspirations and feelings, and questioned how a decision could be made on this basis?

 

Response by: Cllr Roger Wilson (Cabinet Member - Adult Social Care: Commissioning)

 

Cllr Wilson outlined the background to the decision, including 2 years of intensive investigations and consideration of two major reports. Clarifying that the decision had involved a huge amount of consultation, Cllr Wilson believed this was the right decision. 

 

Question 3: Cllr Kate Haigh

 

Agenda item 13: Food Waste Collection and Delivery Agreements

Cllr Haigh expressed concern about the impact of the proposed decision on the district councils and asked if Cllr Moor knew what the anticipated savings might be from the proposed scheme?

 

Response by: Cllr Nigel Moor (Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning)

 

Cllr Moor advised he had a broad indication of anticipated savings and following conversations at the Joint Waste Committee meeting held the day before (involving most District Authorities) it was anticipated some authorities might benefit from the scheme. At this stage, however, it was not explicit what savings might be anticipated. Discussions would continue with the shared aim of seeking a fairer system.

 

Question 4: Cllr Paul Hodgkinson

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

Cllr Hodgkinson questioned the impact the shortfall in achieving savings in Public Health, Mental Health and Children’s Services would have on delivering mental health and children’s services and asked if a review of the situation would result in a reduction of these vital services?

 

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years)

 

Cllr Boyles explained that the review of children’s services included a review of service contracts with the aim of realigning contracts with the outcomes of the review. Cllr Boyles stated that the intention was to review children’s services as a whole, which would give the council time to ensure service delivery in the future.

 

Question 5: Cllr Paul Hodgkinson

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

Cllr Hodgkinson questioned the measures in place to avoid further overspends in the Children’s Services Budget. He suggested that the overspend in the Children’s Services Budget would be unsustainable in the long term and noted that the outcomes of the recent Ofsted monitoring visits had identified slow progress. Cllr Hodgkinson asked how confident the authority was in avoiding a third inadequate Ofsted rating?

 

Responseby: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years)

 

Cllr Boyles outlined some of the work that had been put in place to address the outcomes of the Ofsted Inspection in 2017. One of the measures included a High Cost Placement Panel, introduced to review places early and to ensure a reduction in costs from planned moves. It was explained that the intention was to review the council’s spending on agency social workers and to undertake further reviews of care leaver costs. Cllr Boyles reported that the number of high spend agency employees had reduced from 47 to 37 during the past year. Additional measures to recruit and retain social workers included 12 month contracts to ensure continuity of service and bonus payments.

 

Cllr Boyles reiterated that a wide range of measures had been introduced to address the challenges of an increasing number of children in care in Gloucestershire, (increasing to 714 at the time of the meeting). Cllr Boyles hoped the council’s rating would be in a much better position at the time of the next Ofsted inspection.

 

Question 6: Cllr Jeremy Hilton

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

Stating he was pleased the Strategic Waste Reserve Fund would not be topped any further, Cllr Hilton asked what payments were scheduled to be made from the reserve (to UBB) during the current financial year?

Responseby: Cllr Lynden Stowe (Cabinet Member for Finance and Change)

 

Cllr Stowe agreed to provide a written response to the question after the meeting. 

 

Question 7: Cllr Jeremy Hilton

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

 

Cllr Hilton noted the date of the next community engagement event on the future of Trevone House, (20 August 2019), and said that, as the local councillor, he would appreciate seeing the plans ahead of the public meeting.

Cllr Hilton enquired into the timeline for the award of the contract for the future management of Trevone House and asked if the cabinet decision to award the contract was subject to the council’s call-in rules?

Responseby: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years)

 

Cllr Boyles agreed to provide a written response to the question after the meeting.

 

Question 8: Cllr Jeremy Hilton

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

 

Cllr Hilton referred to the number of electric charging points planned for the County and said, currently, there were none in the City of Gloucester at this time.

Expressing concern about the impact on the capacity of the streets of Gloucester, Cllr Hilton asked the cabinet member to confirm if he intended to coordinate the work for this project with officers in readiness for a review of the residents parking permit scheme in Gloucester and Cheltenham, (the review to commence in October 2019 for a year)?

 

Responseby: Cllr Nigel Moor (Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning)

 

Cllr Moor welcomed advance notice of the review of residents parking schemes in Gloucester and Cheltenham and informed Cllr Hilton that the council aimed to exceed the anticipated 100 electric charging points for the County.

 

Question 11: Cllr Klara Sudbury

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

 

Cllr Sudbury expressed concern about the mitigation measures and the additional budgetary costs associated with the Cheltenham Transport Plan in respect of changes agreed by the Traffic Regulation Order Committee and Cheltenham Borough Council.

 

Referring to a question submitted to council on a previous occasion, (where Cllr Sudbury had been informed that the costs of implementing changes to the Cheltenham Transport Plan would be covered by the budget), Cllr Sudbury asked why this council had not satisfactorily budgeted for the costs.

 

Response by: Cllr Lynden Stowe (Cabinet Member for Finance and Change)

Cllr Stowe agreed to liaise with Cllr Nigel Moor, (as Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning), before providing a written response to the question after the meeting. 

 

Question 12: Cllr Klara Sudbury

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

 

Cllr Sudbury asked the cabinet member to elaborate on the proposal to review food waste collection and delivery arrangements and if Cheltenham Borough Council would receive more money from the decision.

 

Responseby: Cllr Nigel Moor (Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning)

 

Cllr Moor confirmed that discussions at the Joint Waste Committee meeting held the previous day (involving most District Authorities) had been encouraging but, at this stage, he couldn’t anticipate what the outcomes of the discussions would be. The perimeters for the scheme had been set, the outcomes of which would be presented to Cabinet at a later date.

 

Question 13: Cllr Klara Sudbury

 

Agenda item 5: Revenue and Capital Expenditure 2018-19

 

Cllr Sudbury asked the cabinet member if he was confident the review of food waste collection and delivery arrangements would not threaten food waste collections at district councils.

 

Responseby: Cllr Nigel Moor (Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning)

 

Cllr Moor said that he was confident.

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