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, 9 February 2022. 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.
Thirty-nine member questions had been received. The following supplementary questions were asked:
Question 1 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton explained the ICT issues and implications arising from the recent cyber attack on Gloucester City Council. The County Council was the only public body blocking City Council email addresses. He looked for assurances that from 1 March 2022 this would be resolved.
Cllr Lynden Stowe replied that this was subject to work with the City Council and that it was important not to compromise the County Council systems.
Question 3 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton stated that elected members lived in the County, he asked if that same criteria should be applied to senior officers at the Council earning over £100,000.
Cllr Lynden Stowe did not agree and stated it was important to have the best individuals in the roles.
Question 7 – Cllr Colin Hay asked for assurances that the Cabinet Member would work with other road safety users to get the campaign off the ground to alert people of the changes to the Highway Code.
Cllr Dave Norman replied that the Council had a role and responsibility with regards to road safety. He felt that there was information available and it was everyone’s responsibility when using the highway to understand the code.
Question 8 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked whether, in circumstances where Covid measures were being retained, it would be wrong for Gloucestershire County Council to retain them without asking the public.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne informed that member that if Cllr Hodgkinson had specific issues around powers relating to Covid then he should raise those as specific questions.
Question 9 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked if the member would be looking to run a wider consultation as to whether the HRC booking system would be retained?
Cllr David Gray stated that there would be a broader consultation in the coming months and he suggested that the booking system had been a big success.
Question 10 – Cllr Lisa Spivey asked for reassurance that when the Pension Committee carried out its comprehensive review this year that best practice was considered as not just being a financial return.
Cllr Lynden Stowe replied that he understood the points made and part of the partnership with Brunel allowed an ability to influence with regards to ESG policies. The Committee did not pick individual shares to invest in.
Question 12 - Cllr Roger Whyborn asked if the cabinet member understood the extreme sense of disempowerment felt by communities over speeding and did he have any plans to do anything about that.
Cllr Dave Norman replied that the Council was committed to investing in this area and were working with the Police and Crime Commissioner. Consultation was the way forward.
Question 13 – Cllr Roger Whyborn asked where and when did the member propose to plant the 500 trees at the Arle Court Transport Hub.
Cllr David Gray replied that everything would be done by 2024 on the site.
Question 14 – Cllr Gill Moseley asked whether the Cabinet Member had learnt about the cuts to the bus service through Facebook. In addition, did he feel regardless of whether subsidised, there was a need for a more comprehensive protocol for informing the public? In addition, would he not agree that the sudden appearance of posters announcing changes, following her email to Stagecoach, was too much of a coincidence.?
Cllr Philip Robinson replied that he had learnt about the reduction of the routes via Facebook. The Integrated Transport Unit were looking to set up a stakeholder alert system. The Council was looking at finding a package that respected the passengers but was also fair. Personal Travel Planning was the main component in helping to support those small numbers, as this was a cost effective solution.
Question 31 – Cllr Roger Whyborn expressed his concerns around near misses on the highways network and suggested that these were ignored with members of the public told that this did not represent a safety hazard.
Cllr Dave Norman replied that there were more near misses than actual accidents. A draft policy was being worked up and he would be happy to meet with the member to discuss the progress being made.
Question 36 – Cllr Gill Moseley asked, given the commitment to sustainable transport and transformative change, would the cabinet member agree that the cuts represented a shocking start to the Bus Service Improvement Plan. No effort had been made to run a service to even half the frequency of the most indemand times. She asked for a possible campaign to get people on the buses.
Cllr Philip Robinson replied that the Bus Service Improvement Plan had not started yet, it was a proposal that had gone to government. It was essential to get more people on public transport to help meet climate change targets. He stated that solutions to these issues would be seen. In relation to the possibility of providing a ‘skeleton service’ this didn’t relate to a linear reduction in cost and so was not viable.