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, 21 June 2017. 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:

Thirty six member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:

 

Question 2– Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked whether checks would be carried out on hotel chains and commercial buildings regarding the external cladding in light of recent incidents.

Cllr Nigel Moor explained that the immediate response had been to look at residential buildings, but that he would take up the points raised by the member with the Chief Fire Officer.

 

Question 3– Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked whether the member would agree that there was a need to encourage all properties to fit sprinkler systems.

Cllr Nigel Moor replied that it had to be a decision for the Chief Fire Officer and a bespoke approach.

 

Question 4 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton accepted that the panels on the outside of Shire Hall were safe but asked whether that was the case regarding the insulation used.

Cllr Nigel Moor explained that this was being tested.

 

Question 5 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton noted that a lot of building work had been carried out on Shire Hall. He asked why the opportunity had not been taken to install sprinklers.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that any installations of this nature would be dependent on the advice of Fire Officers and the measures they felt were required.

 

Question 6 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked whether the member thought that the current establishment of children’s social workers was sufficient to care for children of this County?

Cllr Richard Boyles replied that he would listen to officers regarding the assessments they made around the establishment.

 

Question 7 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton noted the vacancies the Council had for children’s social workers and asked what work would be undertaken to ensure a full establishment.
 

Cllr Richard Boyles explained that the Council was active in the market to recruit new social workers and that there was a national shortage which made it difficult to attract experienced social workers. There was an ongoing programme in place and he would be happy to update the Council in the future on progress.

 

Question 8 – Cllr Rachel  Smith asked whether the Council would commit to publishing the information on the costs of the incinerator following the judges ruling on public disclosure being in the public interest.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou stated that the judgement had been noted and steps were in place to conform to this. He looked forward to the outcome of deliberations of the working group looking at ‘open contracting’.

Question 9 - Cllr Rachel Smith asked if it was possible to see a commitment to convert the Council’s fleet of cars to low emission electric vehicles.

Cllr Nigel Moor explained that a report would be going to Environment and Communities Scrutiny on 12 July looking at a range of options regarding Air Quality Management.

 

Question 10 – Cllr Chris Coleman expressed concern that the parking scheme in his division had been first advised for February 2016, with consultation in April and was now planned for August 2017. He asked whether this was still the plan.

Cllr Nigel Moor stated that he could understand the member’s frustration and that the plan was to go forward with this during the summer; it had not been able to be implemented over the Christmas period and then during election time.

Question 11 – Cllr Chris Coleman asked whether the parking scheme on the stretch of Gloucester Road would be revisited.

Cllr Nigel Moor stated that some errors were made but had been picked up and a revised layout was being worked on.

Question 13 –  Cllr Chris Coleman stated that signs had gone out to residents in his divisions covering two parking zones asking them to stay clear, he asked whether this could be reviewed as it was causing a high level of disruption.

Cllr Nigel Moor stated that subject to the weather and the work programme he would be happy to make that undertaking.

 

Question 14 – Cllr Chris Coleman stated that the wrong telephone number had been provided on the letter to residents advising them on who to contact if they had questions on the parking scheme. He asked that this be improved in future.

Cllr Nigel Moor undertook to ensure that this was resolved.

 

Question 16 – Cllr Chris Coleman asked whether the Cabinet Member would assist with getting named individuals, including ex employees,  to go to scrutiny to be held to account on the issues identified in the Ofsted report.

Cllr Richard Boyle stated  that there was no requirement for ex employees or former members to appear before a scrutiny committee so he could not assist.

 

Question 18 – Cllr Chris Coleman stated that there was a real need for cross party working to effectively scrutinise children’s services and asked for his assurance that there should be cross party representation.

 

Cllr Brian Robinson stated that while the Improvement Board was not in his remit, from a scrutiny committee point of view, the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee was working cross party.

 

Question 19 – Cllr Chris Coleman referred to Adoption West and stated that if there was no tracking of officer time then how could the Council account for the time spent on the project.

 

Cllr Richard Boyles replied that the Council did not track officers time in that manner.

 

Question 20 – Cllr Chris Coleman stated his pride at the Council’s record with adoption and was pleased that part of the Ofsted report reflected this. He asked with regards to Adoption West, which of the Council’s partners were high performers.

 

Cllr Richard Boyles stated that Gloucestershire was one of the highest performers and that Adoption West was required as mandated by government.

 

Question 21 – Cllr Chris Coleman asked for a written briefing to be provided to all members on  any ‘pay offs’ that Officers had received following the Ofsted report.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne confirmed that he would provide that briefing.

 

Q23 – Cllr Chris Coleman asked that if the Council had been aware of the Ofsted report prior to the election, why it had not been issued before the public went to the ballot box.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne noted the pre-election (purdah) guidelines and stated that the Council as a whole had a collective corporate responsibility regarding vulnerable children. 

 

Q25 – Cllr Lesley Williams stated that her understanding was that the ‘Stonehouse Big Dig’ was an ambition to lay a cable through the High Street in Stonehouse. She asked for assurances that the member would attend a public meeting with residents and traders to discuss this including any compensation for loss of earnings.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor stated that there was a meeting with officers on 6 July 2017 to discuss the current position and that he would discuss this with the member after that meeting.

 

Question 27 –Cllr Lesley Williams asked whether the Cabinet Member was meeting with representatives from schools to ensure that everything  regarding fire safety was in place including appropriate training.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor stated that he would discuss this with the Chief Fire Officer and get back to the member.

 

Question 29 – Cllr Lesley Williams stated that the general election had demonstrated how politically engaged young people now were and wanted to know if the council could do more to build on this.  

 

Cllr Richard Boyles referred to the G15 Gloucestershire schools and the outstanding event at Gloucester City.

 

Question 30 –  Cllr Lesley Williams asked that in light of the decision to remove the shadow positions from the council, could a new process be developed to ensure transparency.

 

In response Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that he would take her comment away and consider the mechanisms in place around access to information.

 

Question 31 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked what the Leader would do to ensure all residents were appropriately represented in the Cabinet.

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that this was an important issue to ensure that the Council represented the communities it served. In the way the Council carried out public consultation it looked to engage with all groups including those that were hard to reach.

 

Question 36 – Cllr Kate Haigh asked for the assurances sought in the question regarding Women and LGBT+ communities in light of national developments.

 

In response Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that he was not in a position to advice the female prime minister regarding the interests of women in the UK.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: