Agenda item

Council Strategy

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Leader of the Council, to present the draft Council Strategy 2022-2026.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive, Pete Bungard, explained the proposed procedure for the Council Strategy debate.

 

Initially, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of the Council, and Cllr Lynden Stowe, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Change, would present the recommendations from the Cabinet. 

 

In order to reach a position where a substantive motion could be debated, other political groups would then be invited to propose amendments to the Council Strategy.  These would be moved and seconded but not debated at this stage.  This was a departure from the normal procedure where only one amendment could be moved and discussed at any one time. 

 

Once the amendments had been presented, the Chairman would call for an adjournment to provide an opportunity for Group Leaders to reach a common position where possible. 

 

After the adjournment, the Leader of the Council would advise members where it had been possible to reach agreement – these would be treated as friendly amendments to the strategy.  Any amendments which had not been accepted or withdrawn would be presented by the political groups, debated, and voted upon.  Each group would present their unsupported amendments on bloc.

 

Thereafter all members would have an opportunity to debate the Council Strategy in accordance with the normal rules of debate.

 

At the end of the debate, the Leader of the Council would have the right of reply. The vote would then be taken. This would not need to be a recorded vote.

 

The Chairman therefore proposed that under procedure rule 23.1 the following part of procedure rule 12.5 be suspended for the duration of the Council Strategy debate:

 

‘Only one amendment may be moved and discussed at any one time. No further amendment may be moved until the amendment under discussion has been dealt with.’

 

The Vice-Chairman seconded the motion and, on being put to the vote, the motion was supported.

 

Conservative Group

 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Leader of the Council, and Cllr Lynden Stowe, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Change, presented the recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 26 January 2022.

 

Before introducing the Strategy, the Leader wanted to put on record his thanks to GCC staff who had continued, despite the difficult circumstances of the pandemic over the last 2 years, to deliver to and support local communities, ensuring the most vulnerable were protected.

 

He continued by stating that now was the time to consider how to lead the journey of recovery, to build back better. It was an opportunity to build back greener, giving people the opportunities to lead greener and healthier lives, by investing in 1000 electric vehicle charging points, commencing construction of the £20m Arle Court Transport Hub, and investing £1m into the Climate Change Action Fund.

 

The Leader outlined the ambition for Gloucestershire to be home to the UK’s first Nuclear Fusion Power Plant, as well as to become a new city region as part of the Western Gateway Powerhouse.

 

Members were informed that the Strategy set out how investment for Gloucestershire would be secured, including to fund improvements for M5 Junctions 9 and 10, to improve rail connectivity across the County, and to explore options for a mass transit solution. Members were also informed that the Council had helped hundreds of local events to be organised, signalling that Gloucestershire was back open for business.

 

The Leader explained that the Strategy focused on levelling up across the County, helping market towns reach their potential; raising educational attainment and upskilling; and working with communities and residents to deliver long lasting change.

 

Furthermore, the Leader stated that the Strategy outlined the continued transformation of the Council’s own services, including transforming Children’s Services and Adult Social Care, and investing to improve the County’s roads.

 

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Change seconded the proposed Council Strategy. He highlighted the Council’s ambition to improve customer experience to ensure everyone was dealt with in a timely and fair manner. He emphasised the importance of striving to resolve issues in the first instance, in the best way for the individual, or providing an explanation when this could not be done. This transformation of the customer experience would be supported through the ongoing investment in ICT, and ensuring staff were fully trained.

 

Liberal Democrat Group

 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson and Cllr Ben Evans proposed and seconded the amendments to the Council Strategy from the Liberal Democrat Group:

 

Council Strategy Page Number

Proposed Liberal Democrat Amendment

Page 12

 

 

Page 13

“The 10 11 key areas we will focus on over the next four years of the Council Strategy are:”

 

Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, insert additional bullet point: “11. End the policy of selling off your publicly owned rural estate, introducing a proactive “acre-for-acre” policy and using this to train more farmers in environmentally friendly farming practices. This ambition will be strengthened to reversing the losses and increasing the size of the rural estate where due diligence confirms it as a safe use of your money.”

Page 13

Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 1 to “Reducing our Carbon Footprint – coordinated action to reduce the county council’s emissions to net zero by 2030, put climate change at the heart of all our decisions, and publish our progress in an annual report. Incentivise all staff and councillors to make greener choices to travel to work, with the aim of increasing the number journeys by active travel, public transport or car sharing to help deliver a zero-carbon council by 2030.”

Page 13

Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 2 to “Greener buildings, greener energy – investing in solar power and green energy solutions for all new county council buildings and on our rural estate where appropriate;enabling households to switch to renewable electricity and lower carbon heating.”

N/A

Move the ‘Transforming Children’s Services’ section to the top of the Corporate Strategy, rather than as the sixth priority.

Page 13

Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 4 to “Cycling for all – creating a separated cycle route connecting Gloucester and Cheltenham by 2023, part of a 26-mile continuous cycle route across the centre of the county by 2026; become an exemplar county for urban cycling, working with communities and districts to create safe cycling neighbourhoods in our towns and city to make active travel the default choice of travel for short journeys connecting communities with convenient, safe routes to increase cycling in line with national targets.”

Page 13

Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 6 to “Making the switch to electric – installing 1000 electric vehicle charge points in communities across the county by 2025; consulting the public onexpanding e-scooter hire to communities across the county in 2023 and for all new council cars and vans to be ultra-low or zero emissions by 2024.”

Page 9

 

 

 

 

Page 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 15

 

 

 

 

Under the ‘Improving our Roads’ section, add the following: “In consultation with our communities, make 20mph the usual speed limit in places where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix.”

 

Under the ‘We will’ section, amend final bullet point to the following: “Refresh our road safety policy and review speed limits where there is an evidenced safety concern in consultation with communities, with the aim of making 20mph the usual speed limit where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix, and to install safety measures proactively, to prevent accidents before they happen.”

 

Amend Paragraph 4 to the following: “On road safety, we want to deliver safer roads, healthier streets; consulting with communities to make 20mph the usual speed limit lowering speed limitswhere vulnerable road users and vehicles mixpeople live and building more crossing points to achieve the Vision Zero road safety ambition by 2050 and enable 50% of all urban trips to be walking and cycling by 2045”

Page 24

Add the following to the end of Paragraph 1: “However, our ambition to offer good quality intervention leading to positive outcomes for Children and their families remains paramount, as does our desire to house more vulnerable children in county. We will target having out of county placements at net zero by May 2025 – taking in at least as many children from other authorities as the number we need to send out of Gloucestershire for their own safety.

Page 25

Amend the first sentence of Paragraph 5 to the following: The development of Learning from mistakes of the past, where preventative services were dramatically cut, we will develop aFamily Hub model, centred around our Children and Family Centres, which will be a key element in our future early intervention and early help offer and include youth workers based in communities.”

Page 29

Under the ‘We will’ section, insert the following bullet point: “Rebuild our Trading Standards department to allow for an enhancement of enforcement and advisory services to protect our residents from fraud and unacceptable services.”

 

Cllr Hodgkinson echoed his thanks to staff and councillors for their hard work during the pandemic, as well as to the residents of Gloucestershire for doing the right thing throughout the past two years.

 

Cllr Hodgkinson explained that the amendments proposed by the Liberal Democrats were focused on protecting the environment, residents, and children in care. He hoped that members would agree that these targeted amendments were well considered and hoped to see them incorporated within the Council Strategy.

 

Cllr Evans, in seconding the proposed Liberal Democrat amendments, pressed the importance of protecting and working with communities, as well as in being proactive in areas such as the environment, road safety and trading standards. He stated that these amendments aimed to improve the Strategy and hoped members would support them.

 

Labour Group

 

Cllr John Bloxsom and Cllr Wendy Thomas proposed and seconded the amendments to the Council Strategy from the Labour Group:

 

Council Strategy Page Number

Proposed Labour Amendment

Page 1

Add the following under Paragraph 4: “As we build out of the pandemic, we must do so with a greener, healthier economy. In order to create a Greener Gloucestershire, everyone must have the opportunity to make greener choices. It may be driving an electric vehicle that uses one of the 1000 EV charging points we are installing across the county, or cycling along our network of cycling routes including a 26 mile cycle spine that stretches from Stroud to Bishop’s Cleeve.”

Page 13

Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 4 to: “Cycling for all – creating a separated cycle route connecting Gloucester and Cheltenham by 2023, part of a 26-mile continuous cycle route across the centre of the county by 2026; a network of local cycling routes connecting communities with convenient, safe routes to increase cycling in line with national targets.”

Page 1

Add the following under Paragraph 4: “£20 million is being invested into the Arle Court Transport Hub to enable more journeys to central Cheltenham, Gloucester, all the county’s railway stations and the hospitals by sustainable modes of travel including by providing e-scooters, cycling routes, buses, electric charging points and park and ride.”

Page 6

Amend the paragraph under ‘Rural Isolation’ to: “As well as being one of our best assets, the rural nature of the county makes it difficult for some people to access the services they need. This is a particular challenge for the three out of every twenty Gloucestershire households that have no access to a car or van.  Access to reliable and affordable public transport is critical to combatting rural isolation.  The roll-out of high-speed broadband has already reached nearly all addresses across the county, but we need to continue to work towards full coverage so that all households and businesses benefit.”

Pages 9 and 15

Under ‘Our Priorities: Improving Our Roads’, amend the last bullet point to: “Refresh our road safety policy and review speed limits where there is an evidenced safety concern across a range of measures together with public concern and community support.”

Page 15

Amend Paragraph 1 following the ‘We Will’ section to: “Well maintained local roads allow for faster safer and more reliable journeys, boosting local businesses and serving all road users.  High quality local roads are also central to the future of transport, playing an important role in people taking up greener forms of transport such as cycling and buses.”

Pages 10 and 24

Under ‘Our Priorities: Transforming Children’s Services’, add the following bullet point: “Turn around children’s services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers by prioritising improved social work, resourcing, and leadership.”

Pages 10 and 27

Under ‘Our Priorities: Transforming Social Care’, amend the final bullet points by deleting “will begin” and inserting “has a stated intention to begin”.

Pages 11 and 30

Under ‘Our Priorities: Improving Customer Experience’, add the following bullet point: “Maintaining ways for customers to get help and information by phone and in person, including those that lack digital skills and online access.”

Page 17

Under ‘Our Priorities: Sustainable Growth’, amend the final sentence of the first paragraph following the ‘We Will’ section to: “Employment land, market housing, affordable housing, infrastructure and the associated new jobs are required to enable the continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

Cllr Bloxsom also echoed his thanks to GCC staff, the people of Gloucestershire, and active volunteers who worked throughout the pandemic and for their continued efforts.

 

He stated that the Labour Group would not be supporting the Council Strategy as it was felt that it was an extended version of the Conservative election manifesto; it offered the same approach to problems despite the use of the word transformation; and failed to address the deep-rooted causes of issues such as poverty, injustice, and discrimination. However, whilst the Strategy was not one that the Labour Group could support, Cllr Bloxsom explained that the Labour Group had attempted to engage with the process by submitting their proposed amendments.

 

Cllr Thomas, in seconding the proposed Labour amendments to the Council Strategy, highlighted those focussed on Children’s Services, emphasising that children in care must be a priority, and highlighting the importance of recruiting and retaining social workers.

 

Green Group

 

Cllr Cate Cody informed members that the Green Group had not submitted any proposed amendments to the Council Strategy. She stated that whilst her Group agreed with much of the Strategy’s vision, they felt it could go further. As such, they would be abstaining from the substantive vote on the Strategy, rather than voting against.

 

The Chairman adjourned the meeting until 11.30am for Group Leaders to discuss the proposed amendments and identify areas of agreement.

 

Debate on the Council Strategy Amendments

 

Following the adjournment, Cllr Hawthorne set out the position of the Conservative Group in relation to the Council Strategy amendments put forward by the Liberal Democrat and Labour Groups.

 

The following were accepted as friendly amendments:

 

Party

Amendment

Accepted/ Changed

Lib Dem

Page 13 - Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 1 to “Reducing our Carbon Footprint – coordinated action to reduce the county council’s emissions to net zero by 2030, put climate change at the heart of all our decisions, and publish our progress in an annual report. Incentivise all staff and councillors to make greener choices to travel to work, with the aim of increasing the number journeys by active travel, public transport or car sharing to help deliver a zero-carbon council by 2030.”

Amendment changed to the following and accepted: “Reducing our Carbon Footprint – coordinated action to reduce the county council’s emissions to net zero by 2030, put climate change at the heart of all our decisions, and publish our progress in an annual report. Incentivise all staff and councillors Look to use staff remuneration and benefits scheme to enable staff to make greener choices to travel to work, with the aim of increasing the number journeys by active travel, public transport or car sharing to help deliver a zero-carbon council by 2030.”

Lib Dem

Page 13 - Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 2 to “Greener buildings, greener energy – investing in solar power and green energy solutions for all new county council buildings and on our rural estate where appropriate;enabling households to switch to renewable electricity and lower carbon heating.”

Accepted

Lib Dem

Page 13 - Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 4 to “Cycling for all – creating a separated cycle route connecting Gloucester and Cheltenham by 2023, part of a 26-mile continuous cycle route across the centre of the county by 2026; become an exemplar county for urban cycling, working with communities and districts to create safe cycling neighbourhoods in our towns and city to make active travel the default choice of travel for short journeys connecting communities with convenient, safe routes to increase cycling in line with national targets.”

Amendment changed to the following and accepted: “Cycling for all – creating a separated cycle route connecting Gloucester and Cheltenham by 2023, part of a 26-mile continuous cycle route across the centre of the county by 2026; become an exemplar county for urban cycling, by creating safe cycling neighbourhoods in our towns and city to enable more people to choose active travel as their preferred choice for short journeys working with communities and districts to create safe cycling neighbourhoods in our towns and city to make active travel the default choice of travel for short journeys connecting communities with convenient, safe routes to increase cycling in line with national targets.”

Lib Dem

Page 13 – Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 6 to “Making the switch to electric – installing 1000 electric vehicle charge points in communities across the county by 2025; consulting the public on expanding e-scooter hire to communities across the county in 2023 and for all new council cars and vans to be ultra-low or zero emissions by 2024.”

Amendment changed to the following and accepted: “Making the switch to electric – installing 1000 electric vehicle charge points in communities across the county by 2025; (subject to legislation) consulting the public onexpanding e-scooter hire to communities across the county in 2023 and for all new council cars and vans to be ultra-low or zero emissions by 2024.”

Lib Dem

Page 25 - Amend the first sentence of Paragraph 5 to the following: The development of Learning from mistakes of the past, where preventative services were dramatically cut, we will develop aFamily Hub model, centred around our Children and Family Centres, which will be a key element in our future early intervention and early help offer and include youth workers based in communities.”

Amendment part accepted as follows: “The development of a Family Hub model, centred around our Children and Family Centres, will be a key element in our future early intervention and early help offer and include youth workers based in communities.”

 

Labour

Page 1 - Add the following under Paragraph 4: “As we build out of the pandemic, we must do so with a greener, healthier economy. In order to create a Greener Gloucestershire, everyone must have the opportunity to make greener choices. It may be driving an electric vehicle that uses one of the 1000 EV charging points we are installing across the county, or cycling along our network of cycling routes including a 26 mile cycle spine that stretches from Stroud to Bishop’s Cleeve.”

Accepted

Labour

Page 13 - Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, amend Point 4 to: “Cycling for all – creating a separated cycle route connecting Gloucester and Cheltenham by 2023, part of a 26-mile continuous cycle route across the centre of the county by 2026; a network of local cycling routes connecting communities with convenient, safe routes to increase cycling in line with national targets.”

Accepted

Labour

Page 6 - Amend the paragraph under ‘Rural Isolation’ to: “As well as being one of our best assets, the rural nature of the county makes it difficult for some people to access the services they need. This is a particular challenge for the three out of every twenty Gloucestershire households that have no access to a car or van.  Access to reliable and affordable public transport is critical to combatting rural isolation.  The roll-out of high-speed broadband has already reached nearly all addresses across the county, but we need to continue to work towards full coverage so that all households and businesses benefit.”

Amendment changed to the following and accepted: “As well as being one of our best assets, the rural nature of the county makes it difficult for some people to access the services they need. This is a particular challenge for the three out of every twenty Gloucestershire households that have no access to a car or van.  Access to reliable and affordable public and community transport is critical to combatting rural isolation.  The roll-out of high-speed broadband has already reached nearly all addresses across the county, but we need to continue to work towards full coverage so that all households and businesses benefit.”

Labour

Pages 9 and 15 - Under ‘Our Priorities: Improving Our Roads’, amend the last bullet point to: “Refresh our road safety policy and review speed limits where there is an evidenced safety concern across a range of measures together with public concern and community support.”

Accepted

Labour

Page 15 - Amend Paragraph 1 following the ‘We Will’ section to: “Well maintained local roads allow for faster safer and more reliable journeys, boosting local businesses and serving all road users.  High quality local roads are also central to the future of transport, playing an important role in people taking up greener forms of transport such as cycling and buses.”

Accepted

Labour

Pages 11 and 30 - Under ‘Our Priorities: Improving Customer Experience’, add the following bullet point: “Maintaining ways for customers to get help and information by phone and in person, including those that lack digital skills and online access.”

Accepted

 

The following amendments were not accepted:

 

Party

Amendment

Reason for rejection

Lib Dem

Page 12 - “The 10 11 key areas we will focus on over the next four years of the Council Strategy are:”

 

Page 13 - Under ‘Our Priorities for Gloucestershire: Tackling Climate Change’, insert additional bullet point: “11. End the policy of selling off your publicly owned rural estate, introducing a proactive “acre-for-acre” policy and using this to train more farmers in environmentally friendly farming practices. This ambition will be strengthened to reversing the losses and increasing the size of the rural estate where due diligence confirms it as a safe use of your money.”

The Conservative Group did not agree that the Council has the skills or knowledge to ‘train’ farmers.

Lib Dem

Move “Transforming Children’s Services” section to the top of the Corporate Strategy, rather than as the sixth priority.

 

The Conservative Group rejected this amendment on the basis that the bullet points were in no particular order, so to accept this amendment would give the wrong impression that they were.

Lib Dem

Page 9 - Under the ‘Improving our Roads’ section, add the following: “In consultation with our communities, make 20mph the usual speed limit in places where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix.”

 

Page 15 - Under the ‘We will’ section, amend final bullet point to the following: “Refresh our road safety policy and review speed limits where there is an evidenced safety concern in consultation with communities, with the aim of making 20mph the usual speed limit where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix, and to install safety measures proactively, to prevent accidents before they happen.”

 

Page 15 - Amend Paragraph 4 to the following: “On road safety, we want to deliver safer roads, healthier streets; consulting with communities to make 20mph the usual speed limit lowering speed limitswhere vulnerable road users and vehicles mixpeople live and building more crossing points to achieve the Vision Zero road safety ambition by 2050 and enable 50% of all urban trips to be walking and cycling by 2045”

The Conservative Group rejected these amendments on the basis that it does not support the imposing of blanket 20mph speed limits.

Lib Dem

Page 24 - Add the following to the end of Paragraph 1: “However, our ambition to offer good quality intervention leading to positive outcomes for Children and their families remains paramount, as does our desire to house more vulnerable children in county. We will target having out of county placements at net zero by May 2025 – taking in at least as many children from other authorities as the number we need to send out of Gloucestershire for their own safety.

This was rejected as the Council was already at 25%, and there were clear cases where it was better to place a child at risk in an out of county place.

Lib Dem

Page 25 - Amend the first sentence of Paragraph 5 to the following: The development of Learning from mistakes of the past, where preventative services were dramatically cut, we will develop aFamily Hub model, centred around our Children and Family Centres, which will be a key element in our future early intervention and early help offer and include youth workers based in communities.”

Part accepted as detailed in the table above.

Lib Dem

Page 29 - Under the ‘We will’ section, insert the following bullet point: “Rebuild our Trading Standards department to allow for an enhancement of enforcement and advisory services to protect our residents from fraud and unacceptable services.”

This was rejected as any changes or growth bids for Trading Standards would need to be made through the MTFS process.

Labour

Pages 10 and 24 - Under ‘Our Priorities: Transforming Children’s Services’, add the following bullet point: “Turn around children’s services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers by prioritising improved social work, resourcing, and leadership.”

This amendment was rejected as it was seen to be a repeat of previous bullet points.

 Labour

Pages 10 and 27 - Under ‘Our Priorities: Transforming Social Care’, amend the final bullet points by deleting “will begin” and inserting “has a stated intention to begin”.

This amendment was rejected as it was felt to add no value to the sentence.

Labour

Page 17 - Under ‘Our Priorities: Sustainable Growth’, amend the final sentence of the first paragraph following the ‘We Will’ section to: “Employment land, market housing, affordable housing, infrastructure and the associated new jobs are required to enable the continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This amendment was rejected because housing was a district council function, and the County Council had no strategic housing powers. It was felt that it would look odd to district colleagues to include this as a strategic objective.

 

The following amendment was withdrawn:

 

Party

Amendment

Reason for withdrawal

Labour

Page 1 - Add the following under Paragraph 4: “£20 million is being invested into the Arle Court Transport Hub to enable more journeys to central Cheltenham, Gloucester, all the county’s railway stations and the hospitals by sustainable modes of travel including by providing e-scooters, cycling routes, buses, electric charging points and park and ride.”

The paragraph was specifically about the Arle Court Scheme, and the amendment made no sense when included.

 

The debate on the amendments that had not been accepted then followed.

 

Remaining Liberal Democrat Group amendments

 

Several members expressed their disappointment that the amendment relating to the rural estate had not been accepted and felt that it had been misinterpreted. They highlighted the leadership opportunities the rural estate presented in using tenant farmers and the rural estate team to help peers develop environmentally sound practices. One member stated that the Council could also profit financially, as well as environmentally, from the running of the rural estate if it invested wisely.

 

One member commented that farmers needed support and humility, not people telling them how to farm.

 

Several members also spoke of their shock that the proposed amendment to move the section on Children’s Services to the top of the Council Strategy had been rejected. They commented on the importance the order of the sections had on the perception by the public of the Council’s priorities.

 

One member also commented that they didn’t understand why the amendment relating to learning from the past in Children’s Services had been rejected as this was something that should happen.

 

Another member added that moving the section on Children’s Services to the top of the Strategy could provide a boost to officers who wanted to deliver an outstanding service. It was stated that Ofsted was looking for good leadership that accepted when things hadn’t gone well, had learnt from it, and had moved forward.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years stated that whilst some of the Liberal Democrat amendments on Children’s Services had been reasonable, he believed that some had been nonsense, claiming that the ordering of the document was irrelevant, and that significant work to move forward in Children’s Services was already being undertaken. With regards to the amendment on keeping children in care in county, the Cabinet Member emphasised that whilst the sentiment was reasonable, it was not in the interests of children’s safety to have a net zero policy on placements out of county.

 

Several members spoke in support of the amendment relating to 20mph speed limits and believed that the amendment had been misinterpreted. Several members commented that the amendment was not about introducing blanket 20mph speed limits, but about being proactive and working with communities that supported such a proposal to make their roads safer for all users.

 

One member spoke in support of the amendment to rebuild trading services, noting that the service’s budget had been cut by over 60 percent since the mid-2000s. They expressed concern that the service would not be able to cope should there be a crisis, such as foot and mouth.

 

One member expressed concern that there had been a missed opportunity to help vulnerable people by not accepting the proposed amendments.

 

Another member commented that the Strategy itself was flawed, stating that it was a wish list as it did not include measurable targets that could be used to assess progress.

 

On being put to a vote, the Liberal Democrat Group amendments to the Council Strategy that had not been accepted as friendly amendments by the Conservative Administration were not supported: For (18), Against (27), Abstentions (4).

 

Remaining Labour Group amendments

 

Some members expressed confusion as to why the amendment on housing had been rejected, pressing the need for affordable housing to support economic growth. It was felt that the district councils would welcome the County Council’s acknowledgement of the strategic importance of housing.

 

In response, the Leader of the Council stated that whilst it was clear housing was important, the County Council did not currently have any strategic housing responsibilities, and that the Strategy should focus on what the Council could deliver.

 

Several members also spoke in support of the amendment relating to Children’s Services, highlighting the importance of explicitly referencing leadership and on turning the Service around.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years expressed the view that the addition of the amendment would be inappropriate, given the improvement journey that was already being undertaken by Children’s Services.

 

On being put to a vote, the Labour Group amendments to the Council Strategy that had not been accepted by the Conservative Administration as friendly amendments were not supported: For (18), Against (27), Abstentions (4).

 

Vote on the Council Strategy

 

On being put to a vote the substantive motion was carried: For (27), Against (5), Abstentions (17).

 

RESOLVED

 

That the adoption of the Council Strategy 2022-2026: Building Back Better in Gloucestershire be approved as amended.

 

Supporting documents: