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, 30 November 2016. 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.
Seventy 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 Jack Williams recognised the activities in place for vulnerable young people and asked what universal services were available.
Cllr Paul McLain explained that a detailed piece of work had been undertaken years before on positive activities for young people which suggested that over 85% of young people were engaged in activity not involving the Council. The priority was on supporting the most vulnerable. For those who did not fall into that category, broader services were in place including a £300,000 pot which was split across each district for them to allocate and the Children’s Activity Fund.
Question 2 – Cllr Jack Williams asked whether the funding for the Youth Activity Programmes would still be available at the same rate next year.
Cllr Paul McLain confirmed that it would be.
Question 3 – Cllr Jack Williams asked whether the Children’s Activity Fund would be available next year.
Cllr Paul McLain stated that that was the proposal.
Question 4 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked:
‘My constituent Sue Walters has a son with learning difficulties who receives 24 hour support from Gloucestershire County Council Adult Services. She has drawn my attention to the human consequences of GCC cuts in this area in terms of diminished life chances. As she put it to me:
"I request that you bring to Council's attention the effect that this budget reduction is having on Gloucestershire's learning disabled adults and their families, whose quality of life and opportunity is deteriorating".
So, after two successive years of cuts to the County Council budget for vulnerable adults with learning difficulties, will you give an assurance there will be no further cuts to this budget in the next financial year?’
Cllr Kathy Williams stated that this budget was agreed at full Council and would be again. She emphasised the improvements within the service including making reductions through looking again at contracts and responding to areas where the Council was being overcharged. Kathy was happy to be contacted by Sue Walters to discuss her concerns.
Question 5 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked ‘At the last Council meeting I noted that at the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee the GP-led Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group reported that County Council cutbacks in support packages for vulnerable adults with learning difficulties would have health consequences. Do you agree with the health professionals on this point?’
Cllr Kathy Williams did not agree. She reiterated that real improvements had been made in the service with a large number of adults with learning disabilities working or at college for the first time.
Question 6 - Cllr Chris Coleman stated a query to Government had ascertained that no specific requests had been made to Government on the highways maintenance budget. He stated that the Cabinet Member had said that he had lobbied; he asked him who his constituent should believe.
Cllr Vernon Smith explained that the Council lobbied through the local MPs.
Question 7 – Cllr Chris Coleman asked whether the Cabinet Member would re-evaluate his strategy of lobbying to Government, given the backlog of highways repairs.
Cllr Vernon Smith explained that £1.4m in extra funding was a result of MPs lobbying government. He suggested Cllr Coleman take it up with Alex Chalk MP.
Question 8 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked whether the Cabinet Member was aware that schools in the county had sent out letters asking for the nationality of children and that some primary school teachers had asked pupils directly. He asked whether this was a concern.
Cllr Paul McLain stated that if individual parents had any concerns he would ask that their details to be passed on to him and he would be happy to look at their concerns.
Question 9 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson stated that parents had legitimate concerns and that this was a question they wanted raised.
Cllr Paul McLain explained that there was nothing new in schools collecting information about their pupils for educational reasons. He would be happy to deal with any individual representations in a fair and balanced way.
Question 19 - Cllr Tracy Millard asked whether the Cabinet Member was concerned that the Council did not hold information on what providers of Electronical Call Monitoring (ECM) paid their workers. She asked how we knew we were getting value for money.
Cllr Dorcas Binns replied that the Council knew what time was spent with clients and that there were contractual arrangements which went into more detail. She would speak to the member outside of the meeting on this point.
Question 20 – Cllr Tracy Millard asked for confirmation that no bed blocking in hospitals was caused by issues with Gloucestershire County Council organising re-ablement.
Cllr Dorcas Binns said she could confirm that this was not an issue and that adult social care were enabling people to be back in their own homes.
Question 23 – Cllr Tracy Millard asked for a more specific breakdown on the backlog in the assessment of service users of re-ablement.
Cllr Dorcas Binns said she would provide this outside of the meeting.
Question 25 – Cllr Tracy Millard asked whether there were capacity issues affecting the tendering process around care plans.
Cllr Dorcas Binns said no, it was about ensuring that the right package of care and support was put in place based on the clients needs as soon as possible.
Question 27 – Cllr Tracy Millard asked for more specific details on the SEND needs within Grammar Schools.
Cllr Paul McLain stated he would provide the details outside of the meeting.
Question 30 – Cllr Barry Kirby stated that he was keen to see the Fire and Rescue Service remain part of Gloucestershire County Council. However, he asked whether there were opportunities on blue light collaboration and whether any plans were in place to investigate the opportunities with the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Cllr Nigel Moor stated that the Council was embarking on a piece of work with other county fire services to look at further collaboration and what the cost implications would be around any changes to governance. This work had been flagged up with the Minister and would be presented to him in the new year.
Question 44 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked how much money would be needed to deal with the potholes that we knew needed dealing with at the moment.
Cllr Vernon Smith stated that potholes were subject to the weather and that the defects would depend on what kind of weather we had.
Question 52 – Cllr Barry Kirby asked that given the impact of buses on the roads, whether the figure of how many buses had been on Gloucestershire’s roads since 2010 could be calculated.
Cllr Nigel Moor stated that he had recently had a meeting with Stagecoach who were investing heavily in a new fleet. There was a commitment to ensure buses were regular maintained and replaced.
Question 53 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked what the timescale was to do something about the state of Westward Road.
Cllr Vernon Smith stated that he was keen to see this completed as soon as possible and that work would be carried out with utilities and police to deliver it as soon as possible.
Question 54 – Cllr Tracy Millard commented that state education made such a positive difference, why hadn’t a substantial amount of money been invested into it in the last three years?
In response Cllr Paul McLain said that investment was up to nearly £30m for early year investment. This was a good investment to continue the good quality work being carried out. He explained that there would be further funding from Government around the early years settlement. Gloucestershire was a national leader for 2 year old provision.
Question 56 – Cllr Sarah Lunnon stated that as a key partner to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan would it not be right to debate it at full Council to allow the concerns of the public to be expressed?
Cllr Dorcas Binns explained that this was early days but that it had already gone to Health and Well Being Board and Health and Care Scrutiny where councillors had asked important questions.
Question 67 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked what could be done by Gloucestershire County Council to promote the message of road safety and the dangers of mobile phone usage while driving.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated he would take this away.
Question 68 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked whether Amey’s vehicles were fit for purpose.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated he would discuss any specific concerns the member had outside of the meeting.