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, 15 March 2017. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email email@example.com).
Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.
Sixty member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:
Question 1 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked if the independent report on air pollution monitoring in Gloucestershire could be made available to the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that it could be made available.
Question 2 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked why the County Council had declined to set an example by using electric vehicles.
Cllr Nigel Moor explained that the possibility was being explored and that a report would go to the next Council.
Question 3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked for more details on the precautionary approach being adopted around school buildings potentially containing asbestos.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou stated that the assumption was always made that the material could be present and that specialist teams were used.
Question 4 - Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked what the likelihood was for other successful claims relating to asbestos in schools.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that this was difficult to predict as they were historic claims with asbestos cases having stretched back over 20 years.
Question 5 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked if the member could provide a full list of the buildings where the Council had spent £820,000 on asbestos removal.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that he would try to make the information available.
Question 16 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked whether the Leader would speak to the Local Government Minister to ensure Gloucestershire was first in the queue for being able to retain 100% business rates.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne explained that Gloucestershire had been successful in the recently announced additional funding for adult social care. He understood that an announcement around pilot areas for 100% business rates would occur in the summer. Leadership Gloucestershire had made it clear that it would like Gloucestershire to be one of those areas included in the pilot.
Question 18 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked that in light of the recent complaint lodged with the Marketing and Competition Agency, would the Council be meeting with UBB to discuss further financial losses pending the outcome of that judgement.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that no plans had been made.
Question 21 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked whether Northamptonshire was aware of the ‘hazardess’ substance that was being sent to them from Javelin Park.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou explained that all the material would be taken to a government approved location. The substance had a commercial use and so UBB were still looking at the most appropriate way to dispose of the material.
Question 24 – Cllr Barry Kirby asked how the County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner were co-ordinating reports to ensure they were not covering the same ground in relation to the proposed business case around the transferring of GFRS governance. He was concerned about ensuring best value.
Cllr Nigel Moor stated that the final report should be made available to the new council. The Council had been in contact with the Commissioner’s Office relating to the work but had not yet received a response from him.
Question 26 – Cllr Paul McMahon wished to express the Council’s thanks to those officers who did so well to look after vulnerable people after what had happened with Cleeve Link.
Question 27 – Cllr Paul McMahon asked what provision was being made to investigate new service providers to ensure they were not in danger of going into liquidation.
Cllr Dorcas Binns stated that due diligence was undertaken and that she was grateful for all the hard work of the teams in responding to the difficulties in the Cleeve Link incident.
Question 30 – Cllr Brian Oosthuysen asked whether there were any plans for a comparative reduction in the budget for public health
Cllr Andrew Gravells explained that the Public Health budget was ring-fenced until 2018/19.
Question 31 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked that officers came to her first when informing people about the ‘Stonehouse Cable’ to help minimise disrupt and inform people.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that he would do all he could to help.
Question 32 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked whether anything could be done to speed up the process of putting a TRO in place on Stonehouse High Street to prevent people getting unnecessary parking tickets.
Cllr Nigel Moor stated that there was nothing to add to the answer provided.
Question 34 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked when the Council would know about the conditions applied to the additional funding for adult social care and when would councillors be informed of any amendments to the 2017/18 budget as a result?
Cllr Dorcas Binns replied that the Council was not aware of the details yet; once they were available councillors would be notified.
Question 35 – Cllr Klara Sudbury asked whether the Cabinet Member believed that the Government were wrong to add extra money for adult social care.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou responded by asking why he would think that?
Question 36 – Cllr Klara Sudbury asked whether the Cabinet Member was distancing himself from the impact that cuts in funding were having on the most vulnerable.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that the budget for vulnerable and elderly people had been protected.
Question 37 – Klara Sudbury stated that £37 million over the coming years against a £22bn black hole in NHS funding by 2021 wasn’t going to go far. She asked if the member was optimistic that the additional funding would be provided by the extra money that Brexit campaigners had suggested would be available.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that there was increased money going into the NHS in addition to increased funding in adult social care by the County Council. With regards to the Brexit referendum, he stated that the question had been put to the people and now politicians had received an answer which they had to respect.
Question 38 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked whether the Council had considered entering into the practice of open contracting so that they ‘wouldn’t have to worry about hackers’ or need to spend money to then try to protect the data.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou stated that he awaited the outcome of the Open Contracting cross party review.
Question 39 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked the member to provide some idea of the overall impact of what had happened with Cleeve Link.
Cllr Dorcas Binns stated that on 2 March Cleeve Link closed their doors. This was the first time the council had understood that there was a financial problem. The first priority had been to support people and ensure staffing through the night and the weekend. 4,000 hours of domiciliary care had been provided. Cleeve Link had also taken away vehicles and so taxis and staff had taken individuals to their appointments. The staff and carers had been brilliant and there had been 24/7 ‘manning’ of the phones and very few missed appointments. Now was the time to move forward. A meeting with shadows would be arranged to provided information to members on the costs involved.
Question 40 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton suggested that on the return visit to Gloucester by the Chinese delegation, one of the proposals made had been to transfer manufacturing from a Gloucestershire company to China. He asked whether it was correct that jobs would be moved from Gloucester to China.
In response Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that there had been no conversations on business relocation and that the visit had been about Chinese businesses investing in Gloucestershire.