Venue: Virtual Meeting - Web ex meeting. View directions
To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2020.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2020 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.
No declarations were made.
a) Queen’s New Year Honours
To congratulate the people living in Gloucestershire who received awards as part of the Queen’s New Year Honours.
b) Constructing Excellence awards
Shire Hall won the regional awards for the following categories in December 2020: integration and collaborative working, value and building project of the year. The Council went forward to the national awards and has just been announced as the winner in the integration and collaborative working category.
a) Queen’s New Year Honours
The Chairman congratulated the people living in Gloucestershire who had received awards as part of the Queen’s New Year Honours. The names of those who had received awards were listed in the papers for the meeting.
b) Constructing Excellence awards
Gloucestershire County Council had won the regional Constructing Excellence awards in December 2020 in the categories for integration and collaborative working, and value and building project of the year for the redevelopment of Shire Hall. At the national awards, the Council was announced as winner in the integration and collaborative working category.
The Chairman and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Change congratulated and thanked all those involved, in recognition of this achievement.
c) Steve McHale
Group Leaders and other members paid personal tributes to Steve McHale, former County Councillor for Coney Hill and Matson, who had sadly passed away.
They commented on how friendly and genuine Steve was, and about his dedication to his role as a councillor. Steve McHale had been a member of the Council for Labour from 1993 to 2013, had served on a range of committees, was a member of the Gloucestershire Police Authority, and had been Leader of the Labour Group between 2009 and 2013.
They noted his personal love of running and of world travel, and his commitment to his work in care. They expressed condolences to Steve’s family. The Chairman confirmed that he would write to Steve’s partner on behalf of the Council.
The Chairman invited members to participate in a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for Steve McHale.
d) Vaccination programme
The Chairman and Group Leaders paid tribute to all those who had been involved in the vaccination rollout in Gloucestershire, noting that it had been one of the most successful in the country. The historic contributions of Gloucestershire people including Edward Jenner, who discovered vaccination in 1796 which led to the extinction of smallpox, and Frederick Sanger, who won his second of two Nobel prizes for Chemistry in 1980 for his work in sequencing the genome, was noted.
The efficient organisation and dedication of the primary care networks and vaccination centres in the county was praised. Frontline workers who continued to provide essential services despite the pandemic were paid tribute to and thanked. In particular, the toll the pandemic has taken on hospital staff saving the lives of those who were unwell was recognised.
e) Virtual meeting protocol
Simon Harper, Head of Democratic Services, explained the virtual meeting protocol for the meeting, and provided guidance on how to use the WebEx remote meeting software.
Twenty five public questions had been submitted prior to the meeting. The following supplementary questions were asked:
Question 1 – David Willingham asked on behalf of Flo Clucas, whether the cabinet member would meet with the families concerned regarding late application process for school places which was far from ideal and could restrict access to grammar schools.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux replied that he would be happy to set up a virtual meeting with the individual and families concerned. He referred to the answer to the original question noting the policies in place.
Question 3 – Helen Munro referring to the meeting with Bovis homes, asked if the member could confirm that the intention was to leave the meeting with an agreed way forward and timetable. She asked what the plan would be if they did not hold to that timetable?
Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he understood the frustration and urged the individual to contact Tewkesbury Borough Council as they would be able to take action if Bovis Homes exceeded the threshold.
Question 9 – Chloe Turner asked in what sense did the miscommunication happen and when could it be addressed?
Cllr Dave Norman replied that he had a discussion with officers on this and has asked officers to re-engage. He asked that he be copied in to any correspondence that the parish council had on this matter.
Question 10 – Dilys Neill stated that along the edges of highways lots of trees that weren’t ash had been cut down. She asked could the member guarantee that no tree of whatever species had been felled that had been healthy or could have been saved by a tree surgeon.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that advice had been taken from experts and that he trusted in that advice. Already a great deal of regeneration was taking place in those hedgerows.
Question 11 – Dilys Neill asked for a written response on the detail within her question and asked specifically how many trees would be planted for the period of November 2020 to March 2021. She also asked whether the Council was committed to replace those that did not survive?
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that there were details of the replanting programme on the County Council website. Between 15,000 and 20,000 trees could have been planted over that period. Across the whole of Gloucestershire when also taking into account the work with partners, around 80,000 trees would be planted this year.
Question 12 – Dilys Neill asked whether the County Council was committed to preserving mature trees wherever possible.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that this was the case. He explained that £1.2million had been put into the ash dieback programme as the safety of public was paramount.
Question 13 – Chris Chiswell asked whether the Council was now adopting a targeted yearly decrease in vehicle emissions contrary to a 15% increase detailed in the January cabinet paper.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that he would provide a written answer but explained that this was ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Cllr Richard Boyles, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, to present report.
Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, presented the Corporate Parenting Report.
Cllr Boyles provided members with an update on Gloucestershire County Council’s Virtual School Annual Report (2019/20), outlining the educational achievements of Children in Care (CiC), and the work being done by the Virtual School to support CiC to develop and learn.
It was noted that attendance had increased to 92.6 percent for all school age children and exclusions were down to 12.1%, as a result of training and the launch of the persistent absence strategy and CiC protocols. However, there was still work to do in this area, which had been identified in the improvement plan.
Pupil Premium Plus and Personal Education Plans (PEPs), alongside joint working had been making a difference to learning, however more needed to be done to improve educational outcomes. It was intended that PEPs would become smarter, and that this would be monitored by the new Virtual School Management Committee and the Corporate Parenting Board.
It was noted that 17 care leavers were at university, and 6 care leavers had graduated in summer 2020.
Cllr Boyles thanked all Virtual School staff for their work, particularly during these challenging times.
Members were reminded to complete their one page profiles to help identify areas where CiC can be specifically supported.
One member expressed concern regarding a recent report which raised concerns that young people in Gloucestershire had been at risk, and requested a report to understand what had been going on. Cllr Boyles responded that a meeting was due to be held to discuss the case, and he would ensure that reassurances were given.
Another member requested an update as to how the Trevone House facility was progressing.
Cllr Stephen Davies to present a petition relating to the roundabout road improvements at the A38 Perry Way junction, near Frampton-on-Severn, to Cllr Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood.
To receive any other petitions from members without discussion.
Cllr Stephen Davies presented Cllr Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, with a petition relating to the roundabout road improvements at the A38 Perry Way junction, near Frampton-on-Severn.
Policy and Budget Framework - Medium Term Financial Strategy and the Council Strategy
The report before members included the budget recommendations, Medium Term Financial Strategy, budget consultation report, scrutiny budget report, Council Strategy and due regard statement.
The Chief Executive explained the procedure that would be followed at the meeting. First, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of the Council, and Cllr Lynden Stowe, Cabinet Member for Finance and Change, would be asked to present the recommendations from the Cabinet.
Second, in order to reach a position where a substantive motion could be debated, the other political groups would be invited to propose amendments to the budget but there would be no debate at that stage. This would be a departure from the normal procedure where only one amendment could be moved and discussed at any one time.
Once the amendments had been presented, the Chairman would call for an adjournment to provide an opportunity for the Group Leaders to reach a common position.
After the adjournment, the Leader of the Council would advise members of those areas where it had been possible to reach agreement. Any amendments which had not been accepted or withdrawn would then be presented by the groups, debated and voted upon.
Thereafter all members would have an opportunity to debate the budget in line with the normal rules of debate. At the end of the debate, the Leader of the Council would have the right of reply.
Finally, a recorded vote would be proposed by the Chairman, and seconded by the Vice Chairman, at each stage of the debate.
The Chairman therefore proposed that under procedure rune 23.1 the following part of procedure rule 12.5 be suspended for the duration of the budget debate:
‘Only one amendment may be moved and discussed at any one time. No further amendment may be moved until the amendment under discussion has been dealt with.’
The Vice-chairman seconded the motion and, on being put to the vote, the motion was supported.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Leader of the Council, and Cllr Lynden Stowe, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Change, presented the recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 27 January 2021.
The Leader of the Council informed the meeting that in addition to the proposals agreed on 27 January 2021 the Conservative Group were also submitting three amendments: -
The Leader of the Council discussed the impact of Covid-19, and stated that the time to remember those lost to Covid-19 was not yet, but that they would be remembered. What was needed now was to focus on the recovery. He paid tribute to all those ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
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, 10 February 2021. 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.
Twenty Three member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:
Question 3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how many trees had been planted since the cabinet meeting on 27 January 2021.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that the answer had been given and urged the member to encourage communities to bid for schemes.
Question 4 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson clarified that he had asked how many trees had been planted, not how many would be planted.
Cllr Nigel Moor explained the difficulties due to the pandemic and that there was an opportunity to make a difference this year.
Question 5 - Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked why the decision not to form a youth council had not been reported back to members of the council and what the reasons were for ignoring the will of Council.
Cllr Richard Boyles explained that a countywide approach was being taken to hear the voices of children. It was not called a youth council but was shared across partners and would be a more effective way of engaging with all the young people in the County.
Question 6 – Cllr Kate Haigh explained it was LGBT history month and asked what the County Council were doing to promote the availability of PrEP and what work had been done to ensure people were comfortable with the way they were asked questions and the language used by the public health team.
Cllr Tim Harman replied that he was keen to get feedback on these services.
Question 7 – Cllr Rob Bird thanked members and officers on finding an appropriate site and asked the member to maintain that commitment. He asked if there was any further information to share?
Cllr Patrick Moluyneux replied that he was happy that a suitable site had been found. More information would come through in due course but 420 places would be available for the 2023/24 academic year and the aim was for 630 places to be available when fully opened.
Question 9 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked the Council to be more proactive in reaching out to supermarkets and food shops in the County to tell workers and bosses what was available to them in terms of support.
Cllr Tim Harman acknowledged the work that they did. He informed the member that the Council had an engagement board and a lot was being done on a national level.
Question 10 – Cllr Colin Hay asked what proportion of children who needed a computer had received one as well as a 4G router. He asked how many children still needed that equipment.
Cllr Patrick Molynuex explained that most of the equipment was delivered directly by schools and that many of the children receiving free school meals would be classed as vulnerable and would be still attending schools. The Council was working closely with schools to identify those that needed the help. It was estimated that over 300 4G routers had been delivered.
Question 11 – Cllr Colin Hay asked if the ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Cllr Shaun Parsons, Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to present the scrutiny reports from recent committee meetings.
Cllr Shaun Parsons, Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, provided an update on scrutiny activities.
It was noted that members of the scrutiny committees continued to be active looking at a wide range of issues including the Director of Public Health Annual Report, the response to Covid-19, the NHS Integrated Care Strategy, the Gloucestershire Youth Offending Service, the River Severn Partnership, electric vehicle infrastructure and governance of the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership.
A successful budget scrutiny day was held on 7 January 2021 with involvement of members from different scrutiny committees, Cabinet members and Directors. The task group relating to public participation had reported to Cabinet, and attention was drawn to a comprehensive report on flooding which would be presented at Environment Scrutiny Committee soon.
Members were encouraged to provide their views on the scrutiny structure by responding to the email that had been circulated by Democratic Services.
There was a request for a summary report on member feedback to the scrutiny structure review at the next Council.
A member commented that the task group relating to taxi licensing had also completed its work.
Health Scrutiny Committee
Following the resignation of Cllr Brian Robinson as Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee, to appoint a Chair for the remainder of the 2020-21 Civic Year.
Following the removal of Cllr Brian Robinson from Health Scrutiny Committee, which resulted in the position of chair becoming vacant, members were asked for nominations for this position.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne nominated and Cllr Shaun Parsons seconded Cllr Stephen Hirst for this position.
RESOLVED to appoint Cllr Stephen Hirst as the Chair of Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the Constitution Committee, to present the report from the meeting held on 18 January 2021.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chair of the Constitution Committee, presented the recommendations from the meeting held on 18 January 2021.
It was explained that a number of technical amendments had been made to the Constitution reflecting changes to job roles and responsibilities.
It was also understood that the Committee had discussed the introduction of a time frame for the provision of written responses to supplementary questions, where answers could not be given verbally at a Council meeting, and for these responses to be made available to the public. After some debate by the Committee a way forward had been proposed.
One member welcomed the change as a step in the right direction, whilst another member commented that they believed the timescale for a response should be shorter. It was acknowledged that the Constitution could be amended in the future if members felt that the proposed change wasn’t working.
RESOLVED that the amendment outlined in the Constitution Committee report be made to the Constitution at standing orders 9.5.3, 9.8.3, and 8.8.3.
To consider the decision statements for the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021.
RESOLVED to note the Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements for the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021.
To consider the decision statements for the Cabinet meetings held on 16 December 2020 and 27 January 2021.
RESOLVED to note the Cabinet Decision Statements for the meetings held on 16 December 2020 and 27 January 2021.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Chair of the Pension Committee, to present the 2019-20 Annual Report for the Gloucestershire Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).
Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Chair of the Pensions Committee, presented the Gloucestershire Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) 2019-20 Annual Report.