Agenda item

Member Questions


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, 8 February 2017. 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.



Forty four member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:


Question 5 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson stated that he had been expecting confirmation of the legal costs of the Council’s attempts to block details of the incinerator contract becoming public. He explained that it had been suggested that the figure was £200,000 and he asked the member if this was accurate.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that this was an ongoing enquiry and in legal hands. Until the process was complete, he was unable to confirm the exact cost and it was not appropriate to comment further.



Question 7 - Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked to receive details of the ‘specific and measurable payback’ from the visit to China by councillors and officers.

In response, Cllr Mark Hawthorne explained that the visit had delivered real dividends.  It  was the Council’s role to support Gloucestershire businesses and help them to make new trade connections. A number of companies had taken the conversations further such as ‘Green Fuels’, ‘Royal Agricultural University’ and ‘Prospects training’. In addition companies from China were looking to invest in Gloucestershire.



Question 8 – Cllr Simon Wheeler noted that in response to his answer it had been stated that the proposal was an increase in the highways budget of £6m this year. He asked for clarification of where that was to be found within the budget papers.

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that following the Conservative amendments during the budget discussion there was now £9m more for highways. He would ask officers to provide the member with the specific details.

Question 9 - Cllr Simon Wheeler explained that some answers to questions provided members with precise figures. He asked why precise figures could not be provided on the total amount of revenue raised from Highways related activities.

Cllr Vernon Smith responded that for some services such as parking it was easy to collate the information but with regards to highways, asset management was used with spend allocated where there was the greatest need.



Question 11 – Cllr Steve Lydon asked why the Council would not publish the contract information requested in relation to the UBB Incinerator project.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that consideration had to be given to the legal position and the commercial contracts the Council were engaged in.



Question 12 – Cllr Steve Lydon asked for a written response detailing what the total budget would have been for the Council had Council Tax been increased consistently at 1.99% since 2013.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou stated that there were many other factors that would have had an impact on the budget during that time and that he would not put forward resources in order to carry out this exercise.



Question 17 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked the cabinet member for the definition of a suitable location for Vehicle Activated Signage.

Cllr Vernon Smith confirmed he would provide the member with a written response. 

Question18 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked whether the Leader believed that the additional £2m across schools due to the new funding formula would make a difference.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that the Council had concerns about the initial proposals but that the cabinet member had worked with MPs and Schools Forum to provide a robust response aiming  to ensure a fairer funding formula and create a level playing field nationally.



Question 19 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked for reassurance that whoever took on the portfolio for Children and Young People would monitor Children’s Centres closely.

Cllr Paul McLain stated that he believed this would be the case.

Question 21 – Cllr Tracy Millard asked that the cabinet member look again at adult social care in Gloucestershire as she did not believe that the most vulnerable were being looked after properly and that there was fear from individuals that their care plans would be revised.

Cllr Dorcas Binns replied that she was not aware of there being any fear and that she was proud of what the County did with regards to adult social care. She stated that if the member had any personal information to the contrary, she would be happy to meet with her to discuss.



Question 22 – Cllr Tracy Millard referred to reductions in day care centres and asked what the member would do about the increased isolation.

Cllr Dorcas Binns stated that she believed that improvements had been made in the provision for vulnerable people. It was better to give individuals choice about how to spend the time and money more wisely. There were an increasing number of people living in isolation due to an increasing number of older people and that this was being tackled through services such as Village Agents and methods such as social prescribing.



Question 24 – Cllr Tracy Millard asked for details on the timescales for the review of home care contracts, specifically around whether home care workers had received up to date training.

Cllr Dorcas Binns replied that she would provide the member with the information.



Question 25 – Cllr Tracy Millard expressed concern about training care workers with regards to dementia and asked whether the cabinet member would ensure Gloucestershire County Council had signed up to the ethical charter.

Cllr Dorcas Binns stated that she chaired the Health and Wellbeing Board and they had signed up to the charter.



Question 28 – Cllr Tim Harman asked if the residents of Kensington Avenue offered to make a financial contribution to meet costs if required resolve issues relating to the Cheltenham Parking Review, would the cabinet member support that?

Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he would be happy to support that.

Question 41 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked for confirmation on what the mechanical capacity of the waste incinerator at Javelin Park would be.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou would provide the member with a written response.

Question 42 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked if the cabinet member could confirm whether UBB had negotiated with third parties regarding filling the planned capacity of the incinerator. If so, could he provide details of who those suppliers might be?

Cllr Ray Theodoulou stated that he was unaware of any negotiations of this nature having been entered into. He would inquire and if negotiations had started he would inform the member.

Question 43 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked whether the cabinet member believed that a hostile bid to take on the governance of the Fire and Rescue Service would harm the close collaboration of community services in the County.

Cllr Nigel Moor agreed that it could damage that collaboration. A piece of work had been commissioned to better understand the current collaboration, the benefits of the fire and rescue service being integrated within the county council, and the impact of the legislation.



Question 44 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton stated that previously the member had informed him that the number of homeless people sleeping rough in Gloucester was 13, now the latest figure was 23, he queried the difference.

Cllr Kathy Williams stated that the figures did fluctuate and that not all information had been available at the time.


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