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, 6 September 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.



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


Question 1 -  Cllr Iain Dobie asked that the Leader ask Democratic Services to ensure they had alternative phone number and email address so all members could be updated in the event of issues such as the ICT disruption that had occurred.


Cllr Mark Hawthorne  stated that this had now been put in place. The previous ICT issues should not have occurred and work was underway to prevent similar incidents.



Question 2 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked how much working time had been lost by staff at Shire Hall and those working remotely due to the failure.


Cllr Mark Hawthorne explained that no officer had been tasked to do that analysis. The Blackberry Work outage had effected around 350 members and officers. Most staff had alternative access routes and the worse effected had been members.



Question 4 – Cllr Iain Dobie asked if the Cabinet Member could provide more information including a detailed breakdown on the £400k extra support to people with disabilities.


Cllr Roger Wilson stated that he would provide the member with the information. He explained that the vast majority was for continued provision for community drop in and support to carry out Hate Crime awareness sessions.



Question 7 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson explained that the member’s answer which stated that the ‘Old A40’ was a priority site contradicted what he had heard from council officers. He asked for clarification as to what ‘priority site’ meant in terms of timescale.


Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he understood the frustration of the member and residents. He explained that all landslips were classed as a priority and needed to be evaluated. New photographs of the site suggested that there was still movement of the soil, once that movement had stopped work would begin to resolve the issue.



Question 8 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson informed the member of some of the recommendations coming out of the A429 Task Group including asset management, signage, air quality monitoring and speed limits being reviewed. He asked for an update on what had happened in response.


Cllr Nigel Moor confirmed that an in depth study had been commissioned a number of months ago to report by the end of the year. This report would examine all of the issues brought forward by the group. He was happy to share the consultant’s brief with the member.  Cllr Moor also congratulated all those involved in the Tour of Britain leg in Gloucestershire.



Question 9 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson  explained that as recently as February the Cabinet Member had said that he would extend a warm welcome to Donald Trump visiting the area, what had changed?


Cllr Lynden Stowe replied that the issuing of invites to heads of foreign states was a matter for the Royal Visits Committee.



Question 10 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked what contingency plan was in place for the impact of Brexit and where this plan could be seen.


Cllr Lynden Stowe explained that he was not on the Brexit negotiation committee and that the outcome was unpredictable. He would continue to promote Gloucestershire as a great place to work, rest and play. He felt the Council was well positioned for the post Brexit economy.



Question 12 – Cllr Bernie Fisher provided detail of the issues around a new all-through school for children in North West Cheltenham. He expressed concern about the short supply of school places and asked for the Cabinet Member’s  response on what plans were in place.


Cllr Richard Boyles explained that development of the urban extension in North West Cheltenham  would not be on stream in the anticipated time and that the Council was now looking at the South West area of Cheltenham.



Question 14 – Cllr Bernie Fisher asked if he could have the telephone number of the consortium spokesperson.


Cllr Richard Boyles replied that he would ask officers if that was possible.



Question 19 – Cllr Kate Haigh explained that her question related to a discussion at the OSMC meeting in June where there had been cross party support for a peer review of scrutiny. She asked why this had not been taken forward.


Cllr Patrick Molyneux explained that in response to the Ofsted inspection, discussion emphasised the important role of scrutiny. The Head of Democratic Services had provided the committee with a presentation at the July meeting detailing the history of the scrutiny process and outcome of the previous review. The Ofsted report had not had any criticisms of the scrutiny process and it had not been felt necessary at this time to carry out another review of scrutiny. 



Question 20 – Cllr Joe Harris asked the Cabinet Member how confident he was that the milestones within the Children’s Improvement Plan could be achieved with the resources available.


In response Cllr Richard Boyles explained that he was confident that the plan would be developed and that it was important to retain staff to help the Council improve. The previous week he had signed off a bonus programme for social workers and it was important to have a look at what the Council was offering.



Question 21 – Cllr Joe Harris stated that it was important that all members were kept informed about what was happening in relation to the plan. He asked if the member could tell him how elected members would be kept up to date.


Cllr Richard Boyles replied that he would be drawing up specific ways in which members could engage and that he would be involving councillors from all groups in that discussion.



Question 22 - Cllr Jeremy Hilton stated that the reason for the £50 million difference in the total savings on waste disposal stated by the Leader over a two year period had been given as due to estimates of recycling changing amongst other factors, but had not been about the cancelling of the contract. He asked why this had not been cited as reason.


Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that forecasts would change as the project developed and depending at what part of the process we were in. He explained that members were aware of the financial damage of cancelling the contract and that the long term solution being provided would deliver long term savings.



Question 23 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked what the quantity of waste to be recycled would be.


Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that the tonnage had increased since the contract had been signed as there had been a huge amount of development with additional homes in the next 25 years. The Council would continue to work with district colleagues to improve recycling rates.



Question 24 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked what the actual savings were from the decision not to cancel the contract.


Cllr Mark Hawthorne asked the member to email him to clarify the exact information he was looking for.



Question 29 – Cllr Lesley Williams stated that the environmental impact assessment for the route cable between Javelin Park and Ryeford grid had been approved by Gloucestershire County Council. She asked again what public consultation had been undertaken.


In response Cllr Nigel Moor stated that the questions should be directed to UBB and Western Power Distribution.



Question 31 – Cllr Rachel Smith stated that commercial confidentiality had to be weighed against public interest and she asked the member if he agreed that in the case of the up to date gate fee around the Residual Waste Project there was an overwhelming interest in its disclosure.


Cllr Ray Theodoulou replied that throughout the process that weighting had been considered.



Question 32 – Cllr Rachel Smith explained that she had received the attached annex which had been on pink paper. She asked how the public could have faith when the information was exempt.


Cllr Ray Theodoulou explained that Gloucestershire County Council was an organisation that respected integrity and that some information was commercially sensitive and so on ‘pink paper’.



Question 33 – Cllr Rachel Smith asked what the cash value saving would be of hitting the 70% recycling rate target.


Cllr Ray Theodoulou would provide a written response.



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