Agenda and minutes

County Council - Wednesday 15 February 2023 10.00 am

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2022.



The minutes of the meeting held on 9th November 2022 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 Andrew Miller declared an interest as a foster carer at GCC.



Announcements pdf icon PDF 71 KB

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


a)    Queen’s New Year’s Honours list

The Chairman congratulated the people living in Gloucestershire who had received awards as part of the Queen’s New Year Honours

b)    The Care Leavers Awards evening

The Chair invited all members to attend the Care Leavers Awards evening which was to be held at Kingsholm Rugby Stadium on the 22nd of March.

c)    Steve Tilley, former Parish Councillor for Slimbridge

A round of applause was given to recognise Steve Tilley having completed his 4000 mile walk around the coasts of England and Wales in the effort to raise £10,000 for the charity Mind.



Public Questions pdf icon PDF 390 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 was 10am on Monday, 6 February 2023. However, questions that relate to reports on the agenda may be submitted up to 10am on Wednesday, 8 February 2023.


Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email


Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.



56 public questions had been submitted prior to the meeting. The following supplementary questions were asked:


Question 1 – David Redgewell asked what progress was being made on setting up the Bus Service Improvement Advisory Board and the Passenger Forum.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that a draft agreement for the Partnership was expected to be signed off by 22nd February and the first meetings expected to take place in Spring. The Passenger Forum was a requirement as part of the Enhanced Partnership.

Question 2 – David Redgewell asked whether extra money would be provided to cover the cost to the operators of concessionary fares.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that the intention was to keep the concessionary fare reimbursement at 90% of pre-Covid-19 levels which was above the 75% of pre-Pandemic concessionary usage. They were expecting a commitment from operators to maintain network stability as part of this over subsidising.

Question 3 – David Redgewell asked what pressure was being put on Secretary of State Mark Harper to maintain the Covid-19 Bus Operator Recovery Grant.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that the Secretary of State took bus transport seriously and discussions were in place to improve the bus service for rural counties.

Question 4 – David Redgewell asked when the Gloucestershire Transport Hub would be fully re-opened in terms of shops, cafes and fixed Bus-Rail Integration signage and whether it would be possible to facilitate this with Gloucester City Council.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that there were different responsibilities from different bodies with regards the Transport Hub and that he would have a discussion with the Integrated Transport Unit about discussions with the City Council to approach these concerns.

Question 5 – David Redgewell raised concern over the bus routes that were being affected by service cutbacks such as the Wotton-under-Edge buses 84 and 95 and the Stroud number 67.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that those were commercial routes that were being cut by Stagecoach and that the Council had pleaded with Stagecoach to avoid these cuts. Parts of the 67 route would be maintained as it was supported by County subsidisation and buses were still expected to run with a 60 minute frequency. The 84 and 85 services were run by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), so these conversations were ongoing.

Question 6 – David Redgewell asked about the installation of lifts at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station and the business case for the Stonehouse Bristol Road Station.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that the written explanation provided was all that was available at the moment, but that Mr Redgewell was welcome to follow up further via email.

Question 8 – Lorna Parker expressed concern over the lack of seating or passenger information screens at Merrywalks bus stops

Cllr Philip Robinson thanked the member of the public for bringing the issue to his attention and said he would investigate. He expressed particular concern for real time passenger information for those bus routes that have a less frequent service.

Question 19  ...  view the full minutes text for item 119.


Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 76 KB

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 explained that the story of Children’s Services was often about making and holding gains in performance, whilst continuing to work on areas of improvement and the attached report reflected this journey well.

There had been a reduction in staff turnover and vacancy rates, but the rate for agency staff remained at 35%. The number of social workers with fewer than 18 cases rose from 13% to 35% and over 92% had 23 cases or less. In December an additional payment of £200 was paid to fostering household to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

It was highlighted that there was an awards evening for Care Leavers on 22 March 2023 and as Corporate Parents, all members were invited to attend.



To receive petitions, if any, without discussion.


No petitions were presented.


Policy and Budget Framework - Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 327 KB

Pete Bungard, the Chief Executive, will explain how the budget debate will take place (a flowchart will be displayed in the room).



Additional documents:


The report before members included the budget recommendations, Medium Term Financial Strategy, budget consultation report, scrutiny budget report and due regard statement.


The Chief Executive explained the procedure that would be followed at the meeting. First, Cllr Lynden Stowe, Cabinet Member for Finance and Change, and Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE, Leader of the Council, and 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 Chair 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 sum up.


Finally, a recorded vote would be proposed by the Chair, and seconded by the Vice Chair, on any remaining budget amendments and the substantive budget itself.


The Chair 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-chair seconded the motion and, on being put to the vote, the motion was unanimously supported.


Conservative Group


Cllr Lynden Stowe, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Change, and Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE, the Leader of the Council, and presented the recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 25 January 2023.


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Change informed the meeting that in addition to the proposals agreed on 25 January 2023 the Conservative Group were submitting one amendment:



Repeating or one-off?

2021/22 Cost £000s

Funded from


Additional resources for TRO resolutions

One Off





The Cabinet Member for Finance and Change firstly wished to thank all the officers who had been involved in the formulation of this budget over several months.  Secondly, he thanked members across the chamber for their input through the scrutiny process, he recognised the comments received had been most useful in helping to fine tune the detail.  The Cabinet Member wished to thank members of the public, stakeholders and staff, for taking the time to provide consultation responses.

It was noted that comments from scrutiny, the consultation responses and the Equality Impact Assessments were included within report.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 122.


Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 205 KB

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, 6 February 2023. However, questions that relate to reports on the agenda may be submitted up to 10am on Wednesday, 8 February 2023.


Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email


Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.


As background information, the Cabinet Member Decision Statements over the period 1 November 2022 to 31 January 2023 are available on the GCC website:



Additional documents:


Fifty-seven member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:

Question 1 – Cllr Andrew Gravells asked whether the Cabinet member would agree to ensure the news that fees would be waived for road closure requests for the King’s coronation would be circulated widely.

Cllr Dom Morris confirmed that this would be well advertised across Council channels.

Question 2 – Cllr Andrew Gravells questioned whether the £120 or £80 payment (if made within 29 days) from fixed penalty notices was sufficient to deter permit conditions being broken by utility companies and developers. He asked whether the cabinet member agreed that an increase in fines would force those companies to abide by the permit conditions.

Cllr Dom Morris explained that this issue would be a focus of the Transformation Board and would be discussed with national colleagues.

Question 3 – Cllr Andrew Gravells asked whether the cabinet member would do all he could to ensure that companies and utilities worked together properly to avoid unnecessary traffic problems.

Cllr Dom Morris explained that he understood the frustrations that were being experienced across the network and that he was working to improve those situations.

Question 9 – Cllr Wendy Thomas asked for more clarity over the process of deciding which bus routes were chosen to be subsidised.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that subsidy funding was used for bus routes that were commercially unviable but there was no specific criteria. The decision to subsidise a route typically reflected usage, accessibility, alternative service provision and the prospective value of the subsidised route. Cllr Robinson agreed to look into this further and provide a full written answer.

Question 10 – Cllr Wendy Thomas noted that The Robin Community Transport Service had lower usage in the north Cotswolds region compared to the Forest of Dean and asked whether the unused vehicle in the Cotswolds could be re-allocated to where there was higher need.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that take up had been slower in the Cotswolds but that it was expected that it would increase going into the spring. He was inclined to wait until the summer to make a decision.

Question 11 – Cllr Chloe Turner asked whether there was more the Council could be doing to convince Stagecoach away from service cuts and whether local members could be given more notice when cuts were expected to help communities prepare to engage with Stagecoach.

Cllr Philip Robinson explained that the Council had been successful in persuading Stagecoach to avoid some cuts and that discussions were happening on a near daily basis. The Cabinet member also explained that there was a period of time between Stagecoach initially raising plans to make cuts and those plans being publicised. During this time, the County Council would stage discussions with Stagecoach to try and avoid the proposed cuts becoming a reality, and sometimes this was successful. There was therefore a balance to strike about making public ideas from Stagecoach that had not yet been finalised.

Question 16 –  ...  view the full minutes text for item 123.


Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 567 KB

Cllr Phil Awford, Chair of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, will

present the 2020/22 Scrutiny Annual Report and the summary of recent scrutiny activity. Scrutiny Committee Chairs to answer questions:


Cllr Philip Awford, Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Chair

Cllr Andrew Gravells, Health Chair

Cllr Stephan Fifield, Adult Social Care and Communities Chair

Cllr Andrew Miller, Children and Families Chair

Cllr Vernon Smith, Environment Chair

Cllr Matt Babbage, Economic Growth Chair

Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Fire and Rescue Chair

Cllr Steve Robinson, Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Chair


Additional documents:


In the absence of the Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr John Bloxsom, as Vice Chair of the Committee, introduced the Gloucestershire County Council Scrutiny Annual Report 2020-22.


The report provided a record of the scrutiny work undertaken in 2020-22 by non-executive members of the County Council. Documenting the work carried out by the council’s various scrutiny committees and by independent scrutiny task groups established to add value to the decision-making process at the Council, the report included examples of collaborative work with partners.


Also included within the report, were examples of scrutiny members considering issues and feeding into the decision-making process prior to cabinet decisions being made.


Cllr Colin Hay, Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee, requested that the various Scrutiny Committee Chairs considered the commissioning intentions set out in the budget when setting committee work plans. Cllr Hay emphasised the value of taking budget considerations into account when monitoring the performance of the Committee’s service areas. Cllr Hay also stressed the importance of cabinet members attending scrutiny committee meetings to expand on commissioning intentions and to respond to questions. The requests were noted.


Acknowledging the request to create more links between the work of the scrutiny committees and budget management, Cllr Bloxsom stressed the need for more matrix analysis from which to inform the process. Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE, accepted the logic of this request but stated there was a lot more work involved between the setting of the budget and eventual outcomes. He agreed, however, that it was a legitimate request for scrutiny members to be better informed on budget analysis and barriers to improvement.


One member raised that the LGA recommended that up to 70% of scrutiny activity should be pre-scrutiny and noting the small number of examples in this report, felt scrutiny needed to do more in this area.


Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE acknowledged the logic of promoting advance scrutiny to inform cabinet decision making and made a suggestion that initial briefings on large policy decisions be supplemented with more detailed reports for scrutiny committees to consider in advance of cabinet decisions. 


The Gloucestershire Scrutiny Annual Report 2020-22 and the scrutiny update report were noted.  


Constitution Committee report pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chair of the Constitution Committee to present the report from the meeting held on 16 January 2023.


Richard Blamey, Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel, to present the Panel’s report and proposed 2022/23 member allowances.



Additional documents:


Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE, Chair of the Constitution Committee, introduced the item and referred to the recommendations made at the Constitution Committee meeting on 16 January 2023.


Cllr Hawthorne welcomed Richard Blamey, Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel, (IRP), to the meeting to present the Panel’s report and recommendations relating to member allowances for the 2023-24 financial year.


Independent of the Council, the IRP was made up of members drawn from the local community. The role of the Panel was to make recommendations on the levels of allowances paid to councillors, based on a fair and open-minded analysis of information.


Mr Blamey outlined the approach taken by the IRP to make the recommendations for the 2023/24 financial year, including discussions at 13 in-person interviews with elected councillors. Data from the interviews and comparisons with other local authorities following a review of allowance schemes for all county councils in England, resulted in the following findings:


1)    Basic allowances, together with Special Responsibility Allowances, (SRA’s), had increased substantially in recent years, with the average basic allowance standing at more than £11,600. It was reported that, member allowances at Gloucestershire County Council were currently well below the average allowances received at other councils.


2)    The staff pay settlement for 2022-23, agreed in November 2022, (effective 1 April 2022), had been a flat rate increase of £1,925, equivalent to an approximate increase of 6%. The IRP felt it was appropriate to apply a similar percentage increase to all allowances, with effect from April 2023.

Members noted the report and, based on a majority vote,


RESOLVED to approve the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel for the 2023-24 financial year.


Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE, thanked Mr Blamey and the members of the IRP for their work.


Members noted the other recommendations proposed in the report and on being put to the vote it was


RESOLVED that the recommendations as set out in the Constitution Committee report be approved.



Library Strategy 2023-2028 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

The Council is asked to adopt the Library Strategy 2023-2028 as part of the Council’s Policy Framework to be implemented from 1st April 2023.

Additional documents:


Cllr Dave Norman MBE, Cabinet Member for Fire, Community Safety and Libraries, presented the Draft Gloucestershire Libraries Strategy 2023-2028.


Cllr Norman explained that, under the provisions of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, (PLMA), the County Council, as a library authority, had a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons within the county wishing to make use of it. It was agreed that the current library strategy, adopted in April 2012, no longer represented the future vision and ambition for libraries within Gloucestershire. Outlining the direction and ambitions for the Gloucestershire Library Service, the Strategy will be refreshed and updated annually.


Approved by Cabinet at its meeting on 20th November 2022, the Strategy and background documents to the cabinet decision can be viewed on the County Council website here. Once adopted, the Gloucestershire Library Strategy (2023-2028) will be published on the County Council’s library website.


Members spoke in support of the new Strategy and welcomed the technical advances and contributions it offered to the residents of Gloucestershire, and to education.


One member enquired about the plans for the existing Library at the Brunswick Road location and was advised that, as yet no firm decisions had been made on the future of the building. Subject to further discussions, Cllr Norman informed members he would present a report to council when the intentions were known.


Another member, whilst supportive of the Strategy, expressed concern about local library provision and sought assurances that the vision and proposals set out by the document would be aligned with community libraries. Cllr Norman noted the concerns and agreed to pass on the comments to Head of Libraries and Registration, to incorporate into the annual review of the Strategy.


A Stroud member referred to the parking issues that had emerged following the relocation of the Stroud Library, in particular, to disabled parking provision, and urged Cllr Norman to consider such issues when planning the relocation of the Gloucester City Library. Cllr Norman noted the observations and agreed it was important to take into account accessibility considerations.


Commending the facilities offered by the Cirencester Library, a member expressed concern about a potential lack of awareness on the services offered by local libraries, particularly those in remote and obscure locations. In expressing the concerns, the member stressed the need to raise the profile of local libraries and suggested that the County Council’s Communications Team promote library services and facilities more widely.


With unanimous support, members noted the report, and


RESOLVED to adopt the Library Strategy 2023-2028, as part of the Council’s Policy Framework, with implementation from 1 April 2023.