Agenda and minutes

County Council - Wednesday 29 June 2016 10.00 am

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

Items
No. Item

43.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 203 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 11 May 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 May 2016 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

44.

Declarations of Interest

Please see note (b) at the end of the agenda.

Minutes:

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

45.

Announcements

Please see the briefing note, which does not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.

Minutes:

a)        Margaret Nolder and Jack Pritchard

Members stood in silence as a mark of respect to former county councillors Margaret Nolder and Jack Pritchard.

 

The Chairman advised that Margaret Nolder had passed away at the end of May. Margaret had served as the County Councillor for the Cam Division from 2001 to 2009.  She sat on the Adoption Panel and a range of committees including Health Overview and Scrutiny.

 

Cllr Lesley Williams paid tribute to Margaret who she had known and respected for many years.  She said that in her working life Margaret had been a librarian and had later trained as a social worker.  Margaret was a stalwart of the Labour Party and was passionate about young people.

 

Honorary Alderman Jack Pritchard had passed away on 22 June.  He had served as a County Councillor for the Brooksdean Division in the Forest of Dean between 1973 and 1997.  Jack had a particular interest in economic development and sat on a number of committees including Planning and Transportation and Environment.

 

Cllr Graham Morgan paid tribute to Jack who had served in the military in Egypt and had been a great ambassador for the Forest of Dean.

 

b)         Queen's Birthday Honours

The Chairman congratulated the people in Gloucestershire who had received awards as part of the Queen's Birthday honours. He made specific mention of Cllr Lesley Williams who had received an MBE for services to local government and Suzette Davenport, Chief Constable Gloucestershire Constabulary, who had received a Queen’s Police Medal.

 

Cllr Brian Oosthuysen said that he had known Cllr Lesley Williams for many years and he paid tribute to her service to the Labour Party and to her local community of Stonehouse.

 

c)         Duke of Edinburgh Award: 60 year Anniversary

  At a ceremony on 16 May at Buckingham Palace, Francis Gobey from the Council and Lynne Speak from Prospects’ Youth Support Service had received an award recognising the Council’s commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

 

d)        Gloucestershire Music

The Chairman congratulated the Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra, Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra and Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra on reaching the Music for Youth National Festival.  He also congratulated Brookfield Music Centre Jazz Band, Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra and Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Ensemble on receiving awards at the National Concert Band Festival in Manchester.

 

e)         Armed Forces Day

It was noted that a number of events had been held across the county on Saturday, 25 June.

 

f)          Battle of the Somme

Cllr Paul McMahon advised that Friday, 1 July 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme during the First World War.  The first day of the battle had resulted in more British deaths than any other in military history.  The centenary would be marked by the blowing of whistles at 7.30am in communities across the country.

46.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 68 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, 22 June 2015. 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:

Twelve public questions had been received.  The following supplementary questions were asked.

 

Question 4 – Peter Richmond asked for clarification on the ‘FE’ referenced in the answer. He also asked whether he could be provided with a list of the infrastructure projects in Cleeve in 2016/17, how much they would cost and how they would be funded by Section 106 agreements and the County Council.

 

In response, Cllr Ray Theodoulou  explained that ‘FE’ stood for form entry and that he would provide the information following the meeting.

 

Question 5 – Peter Richmond expressed surprise that the County Council did not hold the information on how much Council Tax had been raised for each of the 53 divisions. He asked how the Council budgeted every year without the information.

 

Cllr Ray Theodoulou explained that the district councils were the tax collection agents and that they would have the detail.

 

Question 8 -  Cllr David Willingham asked:

The Cabinet member is no doubt aware of Burnside, and other subsequent case law, which indicates that systematic deficiencies in addressing standing water constitutes a failure to maintain, so could he explain why, in many cases, the Council is neglecting its duties pursuant to Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980

 

Cllr Vernon Smith thanked Cllr Willingham for making him aware of his concerns.  He  advised that Highways followed guidance linked to the Highways Efficiency Maintenance programme and this followed best practice.

 

Q9 – Cllr David Willingham asked:

The residents who raised this issue with me are quite rightly exasperated at the procrastination, prevarication and inaction of the Council.  They expressed a reasonable desire for this issue to be resolved by Christmas 2016 and with due respect to the question asked on their behalf, the residents would like a completion date, not excuses.  So could the Cabinet Member please give a commitment that this issue will be resolved by Christmas 2016, or give some other time-bounded commitment for the delivery of a resolution to this issue?

 

Cllr Vernon Smith explained the difficulties involved due to a high pressure gas main running through the network.  This is a very complicated issue. The Council was having to work with Severn Trent, the gas board and utility services to resolve the issues. He advised that the best way forward was to arrange a site meeting with the local councillor and highways manager to try to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

 

Question 10 – Cllr David Willingham asked:

Would the Cabinet Member please confirm that officers will respond constructively and in a timely fashion to residents’ enquiries as his answer that ‘officers would be happy to be contacted’, does not add any confidence that residents who contact the officers will actually get a response to their contact?

 

Cllr Vernon Smith explained that enforcement on private roads was a matter for the owner.  The Council could advise residents on the options that were available. They should do this through their local county councillor.

 

Question 11 – Cllr David  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 54 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

In presenting the report, Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, said that a very successful meeting of the Corporate Parenting Group had been held earlier that week.  He stated that the Young Ambassadors had been closely involved in the meeting which had focused on leaving care.  He noted that the Young Ambassadors sat on the advisory bodies for adoption and fostering and had started attending social worker forums.  It was likely that the Corporate Parenting Group would be making recommendations to Leadership Gloucestershire on apprenticeships and preparedness for work.

Answering questions, Cllr McLain said that members should not be overtly concerned about the increase in children in care in the county.  It was a sign that the right mechanisms were in place to identify children at risk.  One of the factors was the increase in activity by Gloucestershire Constabulary to address domestic abuse.  He noted that the Leader of the Council had been commended nationally for the steps taken in Gloucestershire to house unaccompanied refugee children from Syria.

Referring to out-of-county placements, Cllr McLain stated that some children in care had very specific needs and these could only be catered for in specialist facilities outside Gloucestershire.  In some instances, children were placed with an extended member of their family who lived outside the county.

Cllr McLain undertook to speak to Cllr Jack Williams outside the meeting regarding a specific matter relating to a specialist facility for children in care in Herefordshire.

Answering further questions, he said that the investment in the recruitment and retention of children’s social worker was beginning to pay dividends.  He referred to the pilot work in Gloucestershire which was making a real difference.  He recognised that it was early days but all the signs were positive.

Cllr Lesley Williams, a fellow member of the Corporate Parenting Group, expressed concern that some children in care were struggling to find employment.  She noted the importance of providing work placements for children in care and she called upon the district councils to provide opportunities in their areas.

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning.

48.

Petitions

To receive petitions, if any, without discussion.

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Moor presented two petitions relating to highway issues at Moreton Park to Cllr Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood.

 

Cllr Brian Oosthuysen presented a petition relating to highway issues on Butterow Hill in Rodborough to Cllr Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood.

 

49.

Local Transport Plan pdf icon PDF 74 KB

For debate and decision.

 

To consider the following recommendation from the Cabinet meeting on 20 April 2016:

 

To recommend that the Council

 

a)    Approves the Local Transport Plan 2015 -2031 for adoption by the Council on the 29 June 2016.

 

b)    Authorises the Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure to amend the Highways Records List and abandon the transport schemes set out in the Cabinet report.

 

Once adopted, the Local Transport Plan will provide guidance for anyone requiring information on how the Council will manage the transport network in Gloucestershire for the period up to 2031.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure, presented the following recommendation from the Cabinet meeting on 20 April 2016:

 

To recommend that the Council

 

a)        Approves the Local Transport Plan (LTP) 2015 -2031 for adoption by the Council on the 29 June 2016.

 

b)        Authorises the Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure to amend the Highways Records List and abandon the transport schemes set out in the Cabinet report.

 

Cllr Moor thanked officers for all their work in preparing the LTP.  In particular, he thanked Ben Watts, Senior Planning Officer, who had pulled the content together.  He said that there had been an extensive consultation process including input from county councillors through scrutiny and ‘Shadows’.  He stressed that the LTP was a ‘living document’ and, following approval by Council, there would be annual implementation reports.

 

He stated that the LTP was incredibly important given the level of housing growth in the county and would support the county’s strategic economic development strategy.  Six strategic transport corridors had been identified. Close working between the county, district, parish and town councils would help to ensure that contributions from developers benefited local communities.

 

The recommendation was seconded by Cllr Will Windsor Clive, the former Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure, who had been closely involved in the earlier stages of the LTP.  He thanked members and officers for the support that they had provided during the development of the LTP.  He recognised its importance to the district planning authorities and as a bidding document for the Council in securing funding for new infrastructure schemes.

 

In light of the size of the LTP document and potential difficulties in accessing on the Council’s website, a member requested that it be split into individual sections which was more easily accessible.

 

Other members recognised the amount of work that been involved in preparing the LTP and they thanked Cllr Moor, Cllr Windsor Clive and officers for the work they had undertaken.  They were supportive of the plan but noted that a final ‘proof read’ was required to tidy up the document and correct minor mistakes.  A robust communications plan was required to highlight the importance of the LTP to local residents and businesses.

 

Members raised the following issues which they hoped would be addressed in the implementation of the LTP:

 

a)    Rail – upgrading Gloucester station including the underpass, better connections to Gloucester, better co-ordination of services from the Forest of Dean to Bristol, reopening of Campden station, link to Cirencester and new stations south of Gloucester and at Elton Corner.

 

b)    Cycling – continued commitment to cycling, particularly around Cheltenham and Gloucester, with dates included for schemes.

 

c)    A417 Missing Link – To keep the pressure up on the Government for a timescale on the implementation of the scheme.

 

d)    A429 Fosse Way – To take forward the recommendations made by the Council’s scrutiny task group.

 

e)    A417 and A419 noise pollution – to continue to press Highways England for action to address residents’  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Motions

For debate and decision.

 

The following motions had been received by the closing date at 10am on Tuesday, 21 June 2016.

 

Motion 772 – Highways satisfaction levels

Proposed by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson

Seconded by Cllr Chris Coleman

 

This Council expresses concern that the key performance indicators for Highways as published in recent Council papers show disappointing satisfaction levels with the service amongst both members and parish councils.

This Council believes that more needs to be done to improve satisfaction levels and that it is in the public interest to understand the reasons for such unsatisfactory levels of satisfaction.  

This Council therefore requests that the Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee conducts a detailed analysis of these satisfaction levels with the county’s highways and reports back for member discussion at the full Council meeting on 7 December 2016.  

 

Motion 773 – Children’s Centres

Proposed by Cllr Lesley Williams

Seconded by Cllr Brian Oosthuysen

 

This Council believes that the County’s Children’s Centres are an essential service which provides security, training and support to all families in Gloucestershire.

This Council believes that recent changes to the service leave it vulnerable to future closures.

This Council also raises concern that leaving some Children’s Centres ‘outside’ of local authority control will create a ‘two-tier’ system of service, which could serve to increase inequality in the County.

This Council asks that the Cabinet Member for Children and Families provides a report updating Council regarding the transition of these services to the new model before the end of March 2017. Following this, Council requests that the Cabinet member updates Councillors, on a twice yearly basis, on how this new service is performing, in order to ensure that the quality and consistency of the service is being maintained.

This Council also looks to the Cabinet Member and Leader of the Council for reassurance that the authority will take appropriate actions to ensure the anticipated outcomes of the new arrangements are delivered, and the confidence of the community in the Local Authority is maintained.

 

Motion 774 - Students and mental health

Proposed by Cllr Joe Harris

Seconded by Cllr Nigel Robbins

 

This Council notes the findings from the survey carried out by the Association of Colleges (AoC) in response to concerns about the increasing number of students with mental health difficulties in further education colleges.

This Council is concerned that there has been an increase in mental health problems amongst students in the county’s 26 school sixth forms, four further education colleges and two universities. 

This Council commends the range of support that is already being provided by the Council to sixth forms, colleges and universities, but wants to explicitly identify what joined-up approaches are being taken in the county to tackle and monitor the perceived increase in mental health problems amongst specifically students in Gloucestershire. 

This Council therefore resolves to create a cross-party student mental health task group that will invite evidence from school sixth forms, further education colleges, local universities, the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum  ...  view the full agenda text for item 50.

Minutes:

Motion 772 – Highways satisfaction levels

In moving the motion detailed on the agenda, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson expressed serious concern that the performance indicators continued to show low levels of satisfaction with the Highways Service.  He said that time and again concerns had been raised but there were little signs of improvement.  He stated that communication from the Council’s highways contractor remained poor and they were failing to meet promises to address particular issues. 

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Chris Coleman echoed the concerns raised by Cllr Hodgkinson.  He said that the Highways Service was remote and difficult to engage with.  He suggested that it might be time to return control to those that understood the needs of their local communities.  He questioned how data was collected, what difference it was making and how the collection and the analysis of the data could be strengthened to improve the service provided?

 

A member paid tribute to the work undertaken by the Area Highways Manager in his division but he expressed concern that not enough funds were available to allow schemes to be pursued.  He also referred to particular difficulties in his division with tree maintenance and traffic regulation orders.  He noted that a review of the highways contract was planned and there was an opportunity for the Cabinet Member to work with scrutiny in undertaking this work. 

 

Another member believed that road condition was deteriorating dramatically and councillors and the public had lost confidence in the service provided.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, advised that a document had just been published providing an analysis of complaints and the steps that were being to address problem areas.  He noted that the highways contractor had engaged the services of a retired Council officer to work with members to understand their particular concerns.  He said that the performance indicators for the condition of roads had improved significantly.  Unclassified roads were a particular challenge but their condition was now improving.  He accepted that more needed to be done but he believed that the Council was moving in the right direction.

 

Cllr Stan Waddington, the Chairman of the Highways Advisory Group, recognised that there had been difficulties but he said that steps were being taken by the highways contractor to address concerns.  Communication channels were much improved with a dedicated email for county councillors.  An online system was due to be launched in the Autumn that would provide real time information on highway activities in each area.  This information would not only be available to county councillors but also to others including parish and town councils.  Relationships  with parish and town councils were good in some areas but poor in others.

 

A member said that independently verified information showed that the condition of roads in the county was improving.  The backlog in maintenance had been reduced significantly.  He stated that national lobbying had resulted in new funding from the Government for highway maintenance.  Additional funding had been provided locally for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.

51.

Member Questions pdf icon PDF 121 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, 22 June 2016. 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:

Forty seven questions had been received.  A copy of the answers was circulated and is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.

 

The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 1 – Cllr Bernard Fisher stated that he assumed that the gentleman who retired had been a full time employee. He asked what training and technical support the Deputy Fire Officer had for his additional responsibilities relating to Trading Standards.

 

In response Cllr Nigel Moor outlined the actions taken to improve performance in the Registration Service.  New registration officers had been recruited and two employees who had been off on long-term sickness were now back at work. The service had received no complaints during May. The Deputy Fire Officer was supported by well trained staff, his role was to ensure that the performance plan was in place with dedicated officers recruited.

 

Question 2 – Cllr Iain Dobie  stated that given that 45-50% of children coming into care suffered from mental health problems would there be the separation of mental health provision for looked after children?

 

Cllr Paul McLain explained that the Future in Mind Transformation Plan was looking at this.

 

Question 3 - Cllr Richard Leppington thanked the Leader for his work relating to broadband in the county and asked who would be undertaking the new open market review and who would be involved.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that all operators within the area would be asked about their commercial roll-out plans. This was an opportunity to refresh and make sure we were investing money in the right areas.

 

Question 4 – Cllr Barry Kirby asked whether the Council could claim back the remaining £100,000 on the contract with ‘Baker and Small’ and asked who the Council could use instead.

 

Cllr Paul McLain explained that specialist contract and advice had been sought and that recommendations would be shared with Shadows. Other firms were available and what was important was that professionals that made recommendations in these areas were effectively supported and opportunities were available to challenge them in a fair, honest and open way.



Question 5 – Cllr Barry Kirby stated that the firm had not shown a helpful corporate attitude and asked whether cases involving the firm were going to be reviewed.

 

Cllr Paul McLain replied that a number of the cases were settled through negotiation and that 10 had gone to tribunal and on seven occasions the appeal had been dismissed. He was satisfied that the cases had been looked at, but if members were aware of any other cases then he asked them to let him know.

 

Question 8 – Cllr Brian Oosthuysen asked whether additional money could be made available for any providers that felt as though they needed further support to bring life to children's centres.

 

Cllr Paul McLain stated that if a genuine business case came forward to improve services then he would consider what options were available.

 

Question 9 – Cllr Brian Oosthuysen asked whether the administration would help potential partners with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Scrutiny report pdf icon PDF 98 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Answering a question, Cllr Tim Harman, Chairman of the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee, confirmed that a task group would be looking at the performance of secondary schools in the Forest of Dean.

 

RESOLVED to note the scrutiny report.

53.

Cabinet Decision Statement pdf icon PDF 124 KB

For Information and members’ questions.

 

Minutes:

Answering a question, Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, assured members that the Council would seek the very best conditions for the contracts relating to reshaping services for families with young children, irrespective of whether they needed to be EU compliant or not. 

 

A member called for Cllr Vernon Smith, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, to consult all members about the extension of the parking enforcement contract.

 

RESOLVED to note the Cabinet Decision Statement for the meeting held on 8 June 2016.

54.

Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements pdf icon PDF 61 KB

For information and members’ questions.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Statement of Individual Cabinet Member Decisions for the period 1 to 31 May 2016.

55.

Highways performance report pdf icon PDF 507 KB

For information and members’ questions.

 

To note that senior highways officers from Amey, the Council’s highways contractor, will be available immediately following the meeting to answer questions.

 

Minutes:

A member requested a breakdown of the parking income by district and information on where additional expenditure had taken place by county division.  He also asked questions about the learning from recent flooding events, the success of the new patching machine and confidence in the Lengthsman Scheme.  He enquired how comments, both positive and negative, were collected on the Lengthsman Scheme.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, suggested that the member speak to the senior highways officers who were in the chamber ready to provide detailed information on local issues after the meeting.  He confirmed that he had seen the new patching machine in operation and had been impressed by the quality and speed of the work.

 

A member commended the Lengthsman Scheme which had been trialled in the Forest of Dean.  He was concerned, however, about the growing problem of weeds and grass growing in pavements.  Cllr Smith advised that members could use their Highways Local funding for weed control although he was mindful that some communities had concerns around the use of pesticides.  He suggested that the member work with others including the district council and the local parish council.

 

RESOLVED to note the highways performance report.