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, 10 February 2021. 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.
Twenty Three member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:
Question 3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how many trees had been planted since the cabinet meeting on 27 January 2021.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that the answer had been given and urged the member to encourage communities to bid for schemes.
Question 4 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson clarified that he had asked how many trees had been planted, not how many would be planted.
Cllr Nigel Moor explained the difficulties due to the pandemic and that there was an opportunity to make a difference this year.
Question 5 - Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked why the decision not to form a youth council had not been reported back to members of the council and what the reasons were for ignoring the will of Council.
Cllr Richard Boyles explained that a countywide approach was being taken to hear the voices of children. It was not called a youth council but was shared across partners and would be a more effective way of engaging with all the young people in the County.
Question 6 – Cllr Kate Haigh explained it was LGBT history month and asked what the County Council were doing to promote the availability of PrEP and what work had been done to ensure people were comfortable with the way they were asked questions and the language used by the public health team.
Cllr Tim Harman replied that he was keen to get feedback on these services.
Question 7 – Cllr Rob Bird thanked members and officers on finding an appropriate site and asked the member to maintain that commitment. He asked if there was any further information to share?
Cllr Patrick Moluyneux replied that he was happy that a suitable site had been found. More information would come through in due course but 420 places would be available for the 2023/24 academic year and the aim was for 630 places to be available when fully opened.
Question 9 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked the Council to be more proactive in reaching out to supermarkets and food shops in the County to tell workers and bosses what was available to them in terms of support.
Cllr Tim Harman acknowledged the work that they did. He informed the member that the Council had an engagement board and a lot was being done on a national level.
Question 10 – Cllr Colin Hay asked what proportion of children who needed a computer had received one as well as a 4G router. He asked how many children still needed that equipment.
Cllr Patrick Molynuex explained that most of the equipment was delivered directly by schools and that many of the children receiving free school meals would be classed as vulnerable and would be still attending schools. The Council was working closely with schools to identify those that needed the help. It was estimated that over 300 4G routers had been delivered.
Question 11 – Cllr Colin Hay asked if the member was confident that children in need of computers would have one before they returned to school.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux said that the Council was doing everything to provide equipment to children who needed it. He referred to those children who were home educated and explained that he had asked officers to identify all those children that needed that support. He would see what figures were available to identify any gap between those who had received equipment and those who did not yet have it.
Question 16 - Cllr Brian Robinson explained that a commercial solution for remote communities was not practical. He asked why the council persisted with this when it was unlikely a commercial solution would be put in place and why a practical solution had not been explored.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux replied that if a commercial company said they could roll out broadband the Council were then unable to provide public money to support it according to an EU directive. The Council was looking at alternative ways to deliver this.
Question 18 – Cllr Brian Robinson asked for a commitment that a solution would be delivered in his area as had been detailed in the answer.
Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he would be keen for the local councillor to talk to the flood alleviation team and local highways manager to understand what was required.
Question 19 – Cllr Colin Hay asked what additional effort was being made by alternative provision sites and schools to support excluded children during the pandemic.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux replied that all excluded children had access to education through alternative provision and that the Council would ensure that there was provision for every child.
Question 20 – Cllr Colin Hay asked for some of the detail in how alternative provision had been stepped up and managed during the pandemic.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux stated that the pandemic had fast tracked remote schooling and there were a lot of lessons to be learned in how to use technology to take advantage of more flexible schooling.
Question 21 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked when the analysis of attainment and achievement of students in the county would be seen?
Cllr Richard Boyles explained that work would start when schools reopened.
Question 22 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked that the display of notable women in the county be made easily available and promoted.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that if there were alternative ways to communicate what was in place he was open to suggestions.
Question 23 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked what was being done on the ethical charters and modern slavery charters.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that a written response would be provided.