Agenda and minutes

County Council - Wednesday 17 March 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Web ex meeting. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 17 February 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 17 February 2021 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

2.

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.

Minutes:

No declarations were made.

3.

Announcements

a)    Virtual meeting protocol

To invite Simon Harper, Head of Democratic Services, to provide information on how the meeting will be run and provide guidance on how to use the WebEx remote meeting software.

 

b)    Election 21

To thank those members who will be standing down at the May 2021 election and to wish those members standing for re-election the best of luck.

Minutes:

The Chairman thanked Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) staff and colleagues at the NHS for continuing to provide services to County residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. He also passed on his condolences to the family and friends of those who had sadly succumbed to the virus, including those of current and former members of GCC staff. 

 

a)    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.

 

b)    Election 21

 

The Chairman thanked those members who would be standing down at the May 2021 election, and wished those members standing for re-election the best of luck.

 

Group Leaders thanked those members of their group who would be standing down at the election.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne in particular made special mention of Cllr Ray Theodoulou, who would be stepping down after 20 years on the Council, during which he served as Cabinet Member for Finance between 2005 and 2019, as well as Cllr Nigel Moor, who was currently serving as Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning.

 

He also thanked Cllr John Payne of the People Against Bureaucracy Group, who would not be seeking re-election, for his service.

 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson thanked Cllr John Cordwell in particular, who would be standing down in May after 40 years of uninterrupted service, which included serving as Chairman of Council, as a Cabinet member, and as chair of numerous committees.

 

Cllr Lesley Williams recognised the work Cllrs Kate Haigh and Brian Oosthuysen of the Labour group who would be stepping down.

 

Cllr Rachel Smith, who would be stepping down in May, stated that it had been a privilege to serve as a councillor for the last four years, and paid tribute to Cllr Eva Ward who would also be stepping down.

 

Cllrs John Cordwell and John Payne also spoke of the privilege it had been to serve as councillor for the County.

4.

Public questions

Minutes:

Thirty seven public questions had been submitted prior to the meeting. The

following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 3 – Alick Miskin asked the Council to pay attention to LTN1/20 section 444 paragraph 3 outlining the government’s intention to get people involved in active travel. He asked for assurances that the TRO team were ready to act on those suggestions.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith responded that he would personally ensure that the team were considering that part of the legislation.

 

Question 4 – Steve Gower raised concerns regarding independent scrutiny of those participating in the Housing First Project. He asked for assurances around how there would be oversight of this work.

 

Cllr Kathy Williams would provide a written response.

 

Question 5 – Peter Wormington stated that there were lots of volunteers keen to help the Council implement active travel but needed support and guidance. He asked whether a solution could be put in place such as the Stroud Cycling Forum.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor replied that each councillor had £30,000 to work on highways issues and could work with the community to bring those to fruition.

 

Question 6 – Peter Wormington asked a question regarding the importance of maintaining streets and roads to keep traffic flowing.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor replied that this was recognised and work had been carried out with schools across the County to ensure that the roads and streets around them were maintained appropriately.

 

Question 12 – Molly Scott Cato asked what responsibility the Council had to ensure there was proper school provision in communities as well as alternative provision and queried the use of the land at Severn View School in the future.

 

Cllr Patrick Molyneux replied that the member of the public would be welcome to email himself and officers for a more detailed response. The land in question was leased to the trust so if there was no future for a school at that site, the land would come back to the council. In conjunction with the community there would be discussion as to what would happen to that land. The responsibility was for provision for every child in the county and the Member outlined that the Council wanted to deliver the best possible education for children close to where they live.

 

Question 13 – Nigel Adcock asked why Britannia Way in Woodmancote had been resurfaced  when other areas were more in need?

 

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that the team worked to the Transport Asset Management Plan looking at how we move forward and get the best value for money in the work carried out. He also detailed the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Plan, noting that the documents were available online.

 

Question 14 – Nigel Adcock stated he had reported a number of areas of pavement deterioration. He had not received a response and specifically mentioned the corner of Harvey’s Lane, which stretched for around 20 metres. He had been contacting the Council for twelve months with no response.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that they were keen  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Cllr Richard Boyles, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, to present the corporate parenting report.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, presented the Corporate Parenting report.

 

It was understood that the appointment of 7 members as Corporate Parenting champions would take place following the election in May.

6.

Petitions

To receive petitions presented by members without discussion.

Minutes:

No petitions were presented by members.

7.

Motions pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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 will prepare 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 870 - Equalities

Proposed by Cllr Lesley Williams

Seconded by Cllr Kate Haigh

 

This Council has committed to do all it can to understand and address the systematic prejudices, barriers and biases that affect the lives of Black and Asian Minority Ethnic people.

 

This Council commits to undertaking an equalities audit when services are designed and commissioned to remove access barriers for all groups with protected characteristics.

 

This Council investigate adopting the Rooney Rule. This would ensure that Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people are always short listed and interviewed when middle and senior management vacancies occur.

 

 

Motion 871 – Special Schools

Proposed by Cllr Patrick Molyneux

Seconded by Cllr Richard Boyles

 

This Council notes the significant investment into special schools in this year’s capital budget, including Alderman Knight in Tewkesbury, and Belmont and Battledown in Cheltenham. 

 

This Council further notes the extremely valuable role these schools play in supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our communities, apologises for the misguided actions of previous councils in seeking their closure, and commits to protect them in future.

 

 

Motion 872 – Response to Covid-19 pandemic

Proposed by Cllr Andrew Gravells

Seconded by Cllr Carole Allaway Martin

This Council puts on record its thanks to the NHS teams leading on vaccination in this county, and to the firefighters, other council staff and volunteers who support them, for their exceptional work in delivering the vaccine across our county. 

 

This Council also notes the exceptional efforts throughout the last year of GCC staff in public health, social care and across the council, who have risen to the challenge of supporting our county at this most difficult time.

 

 

Motion 873 – Social care funding

Proposed by Cllr Iain Dobie

Seconded by Cllr Jeremy Hilton

 

This Council notes that

  • Adult social care is the single largest item of county council expenditure.  At £157 million next year it represents nearly one third of all spend.
  • The social care funding framework is not fit for purpose and is failing the people who rely on it.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these problems, including increasing levels of unmet need.
  • The adult social care funding gap is predicted to total £3.6 billion by 2024/25
  • That by 2030, one in five people across the UK are going to be aged over 65 – while in Gloucestershire, we are predicted to exceed one in four.

 

This Council recalls that:

Minutes:

Motion 870 – Equalities

 

Cllr Lesley Williams proposed and Cllr Kate Haigh seconded the motion included on the agenda.

 

Cllr L Williams informed the meeting that she was aware that the council was committed to do everything it could to create a diverse workforce. She informed members that a diverse workforce brought new ideas and experiences; would help inform on the needs of all residents of Gloucestershire; and, help the wider workforce better understand other cultures. She stated that a diverse workforce would also help to reduce unconscious bias.

 

She stated that by adopting the Rooney Rule, whereby ethnic minority candidates with suitable qualifications were always listed and interviewed when middle and senior management vacancies occur, the council would be setting an example of good practice.

 

Some members stated that the council maintained an equitable recruitment process, which met the requirements of the Equality Act (2010) with regard to protected characteristics. It was stated that the staff survey would highlight any issues; and that the council already undertook the equality audits that the motion was requesting.

 

Other members stated that as an institution funded by the public it was important that the workforce represented the communities it served. It was stated that the council’s senior leadership was not representative. It was commented that the motion did not address the barriers faced by many people from ethnic minorities when considering applying for posts. It was also stated that it was important to consider how due regard statements were used.

 

It was stated that whilst recognising the spirit in which the motion was proposed there were concerns with regard to the legality of what was proposed. Cllr Lynden Stowe therefore proposed a motion without notice under standing order 11.1.13 to refer the motion to the Equalities Working Group. The motion without notice was seconded by Cllr Mark Hawthorne.

 

Cllr Stowe stated that the council had a legal and moral duty to protect against any discrimination of a protected characteristic; this was a fundamental issue. He stated that it would be important to understand the legal position of the Rooney Rule; from one perspective it could be seen as illegal positive discrimination rather than legal positive action. It would also be important to ensure that this rule did not adversely impact any of the other protected characteristics.

 

Cllr Haigh and Cllr L Williams agreed to accept the motion without notice.

 

Cllr Haigh stated that whilst agreeing to accept the motion without notice this working group had not yet met and stated that it should do so as soon as possible in the new council to progress this important issue. This was a small step which did not make the council do anything other than consider its position on employment issues.

 

Having received unanimous support the motion without notice was carried.

 

RESOLVED thatunder standing order 11.1.13, motions without notice, Motion 870 ‘Equalities’ be referred to the Equalities Working Group.

 

Motion 871 – Special Schools

 

Cllr Patrick Molyneux proposed and Cllr Richard Boyles seconded  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Member questions pdf icon PDF 160 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, 10 March 2021. 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 One member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 1 – Cllr Shaun Parsons asked if the cumulative impact of expansion of quarries and specifically HGV movements should be a material consideration in any decision making. How would the County Council ensure this would happen in future?

 

Cllr Nigel Moor replied that he did agree with the point raised by the member and this would be adopted in the Minerals Local Plan.

 

Question 2 - Cllr Paul Hodgkinson stated, with regards to A429 Fosse Way, that residents had complained about the way the trees had been felled and the mess that had been left in certain places. He asked, how would that mess be cleared away and when?

 

Cllr Nigel Moor advised that they had received expert advice that had told the Council to leave the material for natural regeneration.

 

Question 3 – Cllr Andrew Miller asked if the member agreed that there was nothing more important than education for young people and would he join him in wishing Tuffley Primary School success in raising aspirations.

 

Cllr Patrick Molyneux replied that he fully agreed with the member and education was at the heart of everything.

 

Question 4 – Cllr Andrew Miller informed the member that there had been further highways improvements at Robinswood Gardens and Ashmore Close and looked forward to further improvements in the next council.

 

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that so much significant highways work had been undertaken.

 

Question 6 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson questioned the Leader's response to his question asking how directors moving to the same job or facing legal prosecution equated to moving on to 'bigger and better things'. He expressed concerned about the 100% loss of senior directors over the four year period.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne explained a number of officers promoted to more senior roles demonstrated the quality in the organisation.  He stated that Gloucestershire County Council officers were well regarded elsewhere and offered jobs on that basis and he alluded to high staff turnover in other organisations.

 

Question 7 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked if having such a high turnover of senior positions in four years was a disaster. He asked what was wrong with the senior leadership at the Council?

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that many of those senior officers had had long tenures at Gloucestershire County Council and he detailed the quality of recruitment into those senior roles.

 

Question 8 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how many trees had been planted in 18 months and how many needed to be planted to hit the 35 million target by 2030.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor replied that a figure had been provided in the answer to the question. An ambitious programme was being put together and more information would be available as it came to fruition.

 

Question 9 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how the member would know if they had met the tree planting target.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor replied that a daily count was not taken but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

8a

Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Cllr Shaun Parsons, Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to present a summary report from the March 2021 cycle of scrutiny committees.  Attached to the report is a summary of the comments made by members, co-opted members, partner organisations and senior officers relating to the current scrutiny arrangements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Shaun Parsons, Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, introduced the report which detailed scrutiny activity throughout March 2021.

 

Cllr Parsons took the opportunity to thank all non-executive members who had participated in scrutiny over the last four years, and highlighted that the Council was deservedly one of the most effective scrutiny authorities in the Country.

 

Nevertheless, Cllr Parsons recognised that improvements could still be made, and he acknowledged the concerns raised by members particularly regarding the split of health and adult social care scrutiny. He thanked members for contributing to the scrutiny review, which would be taken forward into the new Council for consideration.

 

Several members thanked Cllr Parsons for his enthusiasm and commitment to scrutiny, as well as for the opportunity to contribute to the review of scrutiny.

 

In response to a question, Cllr Parsons stated that he supported and felt that there was a continued role for the joint working of scrutiny committees, as well as partnership working amongst organisations in the County.

 

9.

Cabinet

9a

Local Transport Plan pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, to present the recommendation relating to the Local Transport Plan 2020-2041 from the Cabinet meeting held on 27 January 2021.

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, presented the recommendation from the Cabinet meeting held on 27January 2021 for Council to approve the Gloucestershire Local Transport Plan (LTP) 2020-2041.

 

Members were informed that the revised LTP set out the transport strategy for the County. The LTP demonstrated the commitment to respond to climate change by bringing forward the target to become a net zero county by 2045, and by putting a strong emphasis on active and sustainable transport schemes. There were a total of 152 LTP schemes of which 57 were Active Travel and Health and Wellbeing, 38 were Public Transport, and 57 were Highway schemes. This included vital strategic infrastructure such as the A417 Missing Link and M5 J10.

 

A public consultation was held on the draft document in early 2020, and the Council responded to feedback by shortening and restructuring the draft LTP.

 

It was understood that a number of policies and initiatives were already underway, including the development of a strategic outline business case for M5 J9 to allow for the garden town proposal, and securing funding to provide transport services in rural areas.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor thanked officers for their work in preparing the LTP, and recommended it for approval by the Council.

 

One member commented that they felt the LTP was not radical enough to drive down carbon emissions in the County, whilst another expressed the view that the LTP was made up of a repetition of the same schemes.

 

One member requested a commitment to address the issues relating to accessibility barriers for those with disabilities. Another member asked whether the old railway station at Bristol Road in Stonehouse could be explored as a candidate for a new station between Gloucester and Bristol.

 

In response to these statements, Cllr Moor reiterated that the LTP provided the overarching framework for bids and was not a bidding document in itself, as well as emphasising the progress that had been made in the past year to address climate change, including cycling schemes. 

 

On being put to the vote, it was

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Local Transport Plan (LTP) 2020-2041 be adopted.

 

9b

Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To consider the decision statements for the period 1 to 28 February 2021.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED to note the Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements for the period 1 February to 28 February 2021.

 

 

10.

Appointments Committee pdf icon PDF 410 KB

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chair of the Appointments Committee, to present the recommendation from the meeting held on 5 March 2021 relating to the Pay Policy Statement 2020-21.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Chair of the Appointments Committee, presented the recommendation from the meeting held on 5 March 2021 relating to the Pay Policy statement 2021-22.

 

It was noted that the Council was required to publish a Pay Policy Statement each financial year. The revised statement included an updated list of posts in which the post-holder earns £100k or more and the inclusion of a new section on Travel and Vehicle Provision.

 

The Committee also discussed the Local Government Pensions Scheme Discretions Policy at its meeting.

 

RESOLVED to approve the revised Pay Policy Statement 2021-22.