Venue: Quayside House, Shire Hall, Gloucester GL1 2TZ
Contact: Simon Harper
To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 16 February 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2021 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.
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.
Cllr Emma Nelson declared an interest in Motion 893.
To thank members for their efforts in supporting appeals for items for the Ukrainian people displaced as a result of the invasion by Russia. Food, clothing and other items from people in Gloucestershire have already reached Poland and been transported into western areas of Ukraine.
To request that members stand in silence as a mark of respect to the Ukrainian people who have been killed, injured and displaced. The Ukrainian flag is flying over Shire Hall and will continue to be flown over coming days and weeks.
The Chair thanked members for their efforts in supporting appeals for items for the Ukrainian people displaced as a result of the invasion by Russia. Food, clothing and other items from people in Gloucestershire have already reached Poland and been transported into western areas of Ukraine.
Members stood in silence as a mark of respect to the Ukrainian people who have been killed, injured and displaced. The Ukrainian flag was flying over Shire Hall and would continue to be flown over coming days and weeks.
b) National Day of Reflection
Wednesday 23 March 2022 marked the second National Day of Reflection: a day for remembering those we have sadly lost due to Covid-19. There was a national one minute’s silence at 12 noon and the Chair advised that he would find a suitable time for members to stand in silence.
c) The Armed Forces Community Covenant
The Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Andrew Gravells, organised a virtual meeting on 16 March 2022 which was attended by representatives from a wide range of organisations including District Councils, Parish and Town Council, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and NHS bodies. Representatives from the three main military bases in the county, Imjin Barracks, Beachley Barracks and the Duke of Gloucester Barracks, were present at the meeting. The updated Covenant reinforced the intention to support people living in the county who were serving or had served in the Armed Forces.
d) Levelling-up Conference
The conference would be held on 19 May 2022 and all members had received email invitations.
e) Microsoft 365 roll-out for members
Members were encouraged to make an appointment to bring their iPads into Shire Hall between Monday 28 March and Friday 8 April 2022 to have them swapped over to Microsoft 365.
f) Annual member survey
Members were requested to complete the questionnaire and return them to Democratic Services.
The Chair paid tribute staff from ICT, in particular John Deane and his team, for coming into Shire Hall late in the evening on the day before the meeting to ensure that a wifi connection was available for members.
Sixteen public questions had been received. The following supplementary
questions were asked:
Question 1 – Alan Bailey asked that what plans were in place for sustainable transport on the A46?
Cllr David Gray replied that road safety and active travel were an areas the Council was heavily focused on. He appreciated the efforts being made to bring forward any issues on individual places. The Council would be holding a forum on active travel.
Question 2 – Alan Bailey asked whether any thought had been given to adding sustainable transport on the A46 to the Joint Core Strategy.
Cllr David Gray replied that the Council looked at all aspects of this and would hope to see more plans brought forward across the County to encourage people to turn away from car usage towards active travel.
Question 3 – David Redgewell stated that, his concerns were on how the County Council would manage the process to maintain the bus services beyond October without funding from the Department for Transport. He gave the example of the Village of Dymock which had one bus a week. He stated that the County Council really needed to focus on buses and asked what was the Council’s recovery plan if the government grant tapered off?
Cllr Philip Robinson replied that there was some tapering around the bus recovery grant and the Council still awaited clarity from the government on that. It was made clear that what the DfT was trying to do was maintain funding for the sector but also allow for a commercial model to return. He referred to the bus service improvement plan and the enhanced bus partnership plan.
Question 4 – David Redgewell asked that the County Council maintain the finance on concessionary passes.
Cllr Philip Robinson replied that, as stated in his written answer, concessionary payments had been maintained and that this was being reviewed.
Cllr Stephen Davies, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, to present the corporate parenting report.
Cllr Stephen Davies, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, presented the corporate parenting report. He advised that the Council was still awaiting the final report on the Ofsted inspection. He thanked all the staff who worked so hard in the lead up to and during the inspection. He encouraged members to complete their profiles setting out the opportunities they could support for children in care. The next corporate parenting meeting was on 24 March 2022. There continued to be challenges in the system with some notable areas of improvement but there remained issues where improvements were required.
A member asked about DBS checks for members. He believed that all county councillors should be DBS checked as they could come into contact with vulnerable children during their case work.
Cllr Davies said that any members who wished to be DBS checked could be but it was not a legal requirement.
Answering further questions, he said that he was not aware of any unaccompanied children coming to the county from Ukraine but he assured members that appropriate support would be provided should they do so. He confirmed that more than 40% of care experienced young people were not in employment or education and steps were being taken to address this. In answer to a question about the instability of long-term placements, he explained that there had been a significant fall in the number of Foster Carers through the Covid pandemic and this had a particular impact. He stated that locations for the family hubs had not yet been agreed and an engagement exercise was being undertaken with families. In terms of work placements, the Council had a number of care experienced young people on work placements and steps were being taken to increase the number.
To receive petitions from members without discussion.
No petitions were presented by members.
The Council’s Constitution provides for a maximum of two hours for debate on motions. The time limit for member speeches is three minutes and the time limit for proposing a motion is five minutes.
In accordance with Procedural Rule 10.2 in Part 4 of the Council Constitution, the Chief Executive has prepared a short accompanying note for each motion in respect of any implications for climate change, resources, human rights and any other pertinent factors they may wish to include in accordance with the Council’s Policy Framework.
Motion 895 – Ukraine
Proposed by Cllr Mark Hawthorne
Seconded by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Cllr John Bloxsom and Cllr Cate Cody
· Wholeheartedly condemns the barbaric and illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. As a democratic chamber, we are appalled by what we have seen unfold over recent weeks and we support the Ukrainian people in their fight to maintain democracy and self-determination as a nation.
· We applaud countries across the world who have come out to condemn the Russian regime and President Putin’s leadership.
· Welcomes the sanctions placed on Russia by the Government of the United Kingdom and other nations to target those Russian individuals responsible for the aggression and the organisations which benefit from, and fund, the corrupt and oppressive Russian regime.
· Approves of the decision by our Pension Committee to prohibit new investments in Russian assets and to disinvest from all Russian-controlled and Russian-owned assets.
We also note that as of 8 March 2022, over 2 million people have fled Ukraine – a figure which will only increase further – and that Gloucestershire has a proud record of welcoming refugees.
This Council therefore agrees and affirms:
· We stand with Ukraine and offer our full support for the people and their government in the face of unprovoked aggression.
· To provide any reasonable help and support to all Ukrainian nationals living in Gloucestershire.
· To work with District colleagues and GARAS to provide support for all refugees who arrive in Gloucestershire.
Finally, this council extends its thoughts and prayers to members of the Gloucestershire Ukrainian communityand pays tribute to the incredible generosity the people of Gloucestershire have shown in their personal efforts to support the humanitarian response to this crisis.
Motion 893 - Policing and anti-social behaviour
Proposed by Cllr Jeremy Hilton
Seconded by Cllr David Brown
This Council believes that improved police patrols, especially on foot, by Gloucestershire Constabulary would help reduce the incidence of petty crime and anti-social behaviour.
This Council notes that Chris Nelson, the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), committed in his manifesto to cut anti-social behaviour in our communities by 50% and to employ an additional 300 police officers during this term in office.
This Council notes however, with some concern, that the PCC’s recently announced budget paper will only see 106 additional officers employed during this term.
This Council therefore:
Motion 895 – Ukraine
Cllr Mark Hawthorne proposed and Cllrs Paul Hodgkinson, John Bloxsom and Cate Cody seconded this cross-party motion included on the agenda.
For all Group Leaders, this motion represented the Council standing united against the horrific and illegal invasion of Ukraine, against the human suffering and humanitarian crisis unfolding and against this attack on democracy and freedom.
The Leader categorised the county’s response into three areas. He emphasised the importance of a political response with Members adding their voice to the chorus of outrage against Putin’s regime. The Council had also followed suit with economic sanctions on Russian related investments. He detailed the Council’s humanitarian response in making sure GCC did everything it could to coordinate, collect and distribute aid. Members were extremely proud of the response from residents in this effort also. Finally, he details the support for refugees. The county had a proud track record for helping resettle refugees, and teams across Gloucestershire would continue to offer a safe haven for those fleeing conflict. Cllr Hawthorne ended with the words, “We are all Ukrainian”.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson spoke on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group. He thanked the other political groups for supporting this cross-party motion and offering a united voice from the Council. He paid tribute to the inspiring leadership in Ukraine in the face of the atrocities that everyone had all watched unfold over the past 4 weeks. He also praised the community’s response in Gloucestershire on aid and offers of homes for refugees. On behalf of the group, he also welcomed the recent removal of ‘red tape’ from the Government’s resettlement plans, enabling an easier transition for those coming the country and county in months to come. Cllr Hodgkinson ended with the words, “We stand with Ukraine”.
Cllr John Bloxsom spoke on behalf of the Labour Group. They too welcomed and thanked other groups for the cross-party voice, condemning the military aggression and standing with the people of Ukraine, for democracy and their right to choose European identity should they wish. He welcomed the economic sanctions against Russia to date but called for these to go further and become broad enough to impact every aspect of their economy. He praised the courage of Russian citizens taking to the streets in protest against the illegal invasion, whilst under threat themselves of oppression. He stressed the need for ‘wrap around services’ to be available for refugees settling in Gloucestershire, and to ensure that GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) was enabled to remain resilient and viable, not becoming overwhelmed.
Cllr Cate Cody spoke on behalf of the Green Group and echoed all comments that had been made so far, describing the war in Ukraine as ‘catastrophic’ and a complete and utter waste, of human life (both soldiers and civilians), but also environmentally. She went on to cite the carbon waste of weapons, transport, medical supplies etc., the destruction and rebuilding of homes schools, roads and hospitals. She stated that the group recognised ... view the full minutes text for item 69.
Up to 45 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 was 10am on Monday, 14 March 2022.However, questions that relate to reports on the agenda may be submitted up to 10am on Wednesday, 16 March 2022.
Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.
As background information, the Cabinet Decision Statements for the meeting held on 23 February 2022 and the Cabinet Member Decision Statements over the period 16 February to 15 March 2022 are available at https://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgDelegatedDecisions.aspx?XXR=0&&DR=16%2f02%2f2022-15%2f03%2f2022&ACT=Find&RP=0&K=0&V=0&DM=3&HD=0&DS=2&Next=true&NOW=15032022175805&META=mgdelegateddecisions
Thirty-eight member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked
Question 1 – Cllr Steve Robinson asked whether the Cabinet Member agreed that transporting children that distance to go to school did not sit well with the agreed climate change actions and asked the cabinet member if he would consider schooling the children in Nailsworth and sourcing funding from prospective developers to extend the school.
Cllr Philip Robinson replied that he understood it was disappointing for any parent when their child did not get a place at their first preference. The admission authority’s responsibility was to ensure sufficient school places. Any extension of schools would have an impact on nearby schools. The forecasting data showed a fall in pupil numbers in future years. For that reason there were currently no plans to increase capacity.
Question 2 – Cllr Steve Robinson stated he was pleased that the windows were going to be fitted.
Question 3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked why the Covid board had been disbanded alongside the stopping of the weekly figures. In addition, the Government was charging for tests from 1 April. He asked whether the leader would like to disassociate himself from that Government decision.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that he did not wish to do that and detailed the journey taken over the previous two years citing vaccination and effective treatments to allow us to reach a stage to live with Covid-19. The Council would work closely with the NHS. He felt it was the right time to take those steps. Many of the staff that had been deployed in this area were now deployed in supporting Ukrainian refugees.
Question 4 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson stated that hospitalisations with Covid-19 were high and that tests were being charged for. He asked, would the cabinet member like to ensure the supply of free Covid tests in the way Portsmouth had done.
Cllr Tim Harman replied that limited free testing for people with symptoms would still be available and he did not anticipate following the example of Portsmouth.
Question 5 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked, whether the Cabinet Member could give some examples of actions he was taking to protect vulnerable residents.
Cllr Tim Harman replied that the public health team worked in partnership to provide support. A fourth round of jabs had been made available for those over 75 or vulnerable.
Question 6 – Cllr Rebecca Halifax asked for a diplomatic solution to the situation at Cirencester Abbey Grounds and asked to meet with the Cabinet Member.
Cllr David Gray replied that he appreciated the need for a sensible solution and to help Cirencester get the permissions needed and he would be happy to discuss this with the member on site.
Question 7 - Cllr Rebecca Halifax stated that referrals regarding eating disorders had gone up 500% and stated that a phone service would not be sufficient. She asked how much of that 280k would come back into that service
Cllr Tim Harman replied that ... view the full minutes text for item 70.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chair of the Appointments Committee, to present the report from the meeting held on 11 March 2022.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chair of the Appointments Committee, presented the report from the meeting held on 11 March 2022.
Council RESOLVED that the revised Pay Policy Statement 2022-23 attached to the report be adopted.