LEADER'S, EXECUTIVE MEMBERS' AND CHAIRS' REPORTS
To receive the written reports of the Leader, Cabinet Members and Chairs of the Policy and Performance Committees and receive questions and answers on any of those reports in accordance with Standing Orders 10(2)(a) and 11.
The Leader of the Council presented his summary report upon matters relevant to his portfolio. He responded to questions from Councillor Green, Glasman, Stapleton, Johnston and Blakeley and made a number of comments including –
· He would need to take legal advice on the matter raised by Councillor Green as he was not in a position to comment on unsubstantiated rumours and he would write to Councillor Green with a response.
(Subsequent to the meeting the Leader had responded to this question in writing, this response had been circulated to all Members and was appended to these minutes).
· The Leader joined in congratulating staff of the Merseyside Pension Fund for their Local Government Chronicle Best Environmentally Sustainable Investment Award. It was the latest in a long line of awards won by the MPF. He thanked Councillor Glasman for the excellent way in which she was steering the Pensions Committee.
· He concurred that the SIGOMA figures were shocking and did illustrate the disparity in the effect of cuts in different parts of the country. He quoted the instance of Birmingham City Council having to save £840m between 2010 and 2018.
· He stated that the scrutiny review, which reported in April, 2013 had made 18 recommendations in respect of welfare reforms. The Cabinet had received the report in June and agreed with the recommendations. The Scrutiny Committee had asked for a further report and this would be provided in Spring 2014. He praised Councillors Gilchrist and Lewis for their work on how to assist those affected by the “bedroom tax” and a further meeting would be taking place later in the week at which it was hoped to agree an action plan. It was important that scrutiny recommendations were tracked and to make sure that the Council did not lose sight of the recommendations in the review.
· He commented that it was good practice in local government to lend to other Councils, at preferential interest rates and that Wirral was not alone in doing this. Wirral had made money from these arrangements and had been complimented in the Municipal Journal.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Phil Davies be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Chris Jones on her report. No questions were posed, and it was then –
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Chris Jones be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Adrian Jones on his report and he responded to questions from Councillors Brightmore, Leech, Williamson and Norbury. A question from Councillor Watts was ruled out of order by the Mayor as it did not relate to the contents of Councillor Jones’ report. His responses included the following comments:
· He referred to item 4 of his summary report, ‘Human Resources and Organisational Development Update’ and asked that the Council note a correction in that, ‘The Council…. reducing its workforce by nearly 25% in the past year’, should read, ‘…. by nearly 25% in the past three years’.
· He stated that, in 2010, Labour had voted for the Council’s ICT to be refreshed but the then incoming administration had done nothing to progress this. Since then, several senior staff, including the Head of ICT, had left the Council. Microsoft were withdrawing support for XP and the Windows 7 rollout would now proceed.
· The power outage a few months ago had left IT equipment disabled. Scottish Power had assured the Council it was most unlikely there would be a similar occurrence in the future. Elected Members would have their IT equipment replaced in the near future.
· No advice had been received from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Groups to help with the impact of Welfare Reform.
· He stated that Wirral had long recognised the value of collective bargaining and the importance of paid elected representatives for Trades Unions relations commensurate with the reduced size of the workforce. The Council would continue to negotiate with the trade unions because it was the sensible approach.
· He commented upon the example of a local man who had fallen foul of the “Bedroom Tax”, and over the man’s experience of ATOS. The man had experienced extreme hardship due to illness. ATOS had examined him and judged that he was a “fit and agile young man”. Although the man had gone to hospital and had been in intensive care with a serious condition.
· He stated that he could not respond to Councillor Watt although he praised council staff for all their hard work during and following the recent storm and the flooding which had occurred in New Brighton, Hoylake and West Kirby.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Adrian Jones be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Tony Smith on his report and his responses to questions from Councillors Clements, Doughty, Kelly and Whittingham included the following comments:
· He stated that he was delighted with the extra funding of £43m between 2011-2015 from the Pupil Premium which was an outstanding success. The money was ringfenced but differed from how local government had been treated and that was why schools were being asked to help in funding schools’ crossing patrols.
· The Youth Voice conference theme this year had been “respect” and he thanked Councillor Gilchrist and John Martin, of Merseyside Police for their attendance and the 71 young people who had attended. 49 young people had attended the Youth Parliament from 8 secondary schools and 7 youth groups. The “What Really Matters” consultation had seen extensive youth involvement, via schools, teenwirral.com website, various youth agencies, focus groups and the Children in Care Council. He praised officers for their work.
· With regard to the Youth Zone in Birkenhead he wanted young people to have all the facts as not all the information had been available at the time of the Youth Parliament. No satellite Youth Hubs would close and he invited young people to look at the Youth Hubs. He had also spoken to Merseytravel regarding travel to the Youth Zone in Birkenhead and he believed this would be a fantastic facility.
· He stated that the Wirral Youth Offending Service had been inspected between 13 September and 2 October, regarding the quality and effectiveness of casework. Overall the inspectorate had found a very positive picture; the previous inspection 4 years ago had called for substantial improvement. He congratulated all staff involved in this area.
The Mayor also joined in praise for the Youth Parliament and for all those who had taken part.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Tony Smith be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Pat Hackett on his report and his responses to questions from Councillors Fraser, Hale, Gregson, Blakeley and Glasman included the following comments:
· He stated that experts had concluded that there was not much wrong with the sea defences and the recent storms had not deterred investors, businesses in New Brighton had reopened in record time. The Marine Point development was now at 92% occupancy with 950 jobs having been created for local people. He had been misquoted in the newspaper with regard to the dips and what he had said was that additional parking would be required along the railway embankment near to Smugglers Way.
· The procurement process had begun for the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort development. The land for the resort was close to Royal Liverpool Golf Club. A shortlist of possible developers was being created and he was confident that a top class golf resort would be delivered.
· He stated that all constituencies would be involved in the International Festival of Business and a report would be coming to Cabinet.
· The Mersey Dee Alliance had identified strategic transport issues as key priorities. The Borderlands Railway was the most important priority for the Council.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Pat Hackett be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Brian Kenny on his report and his responses to questions from Councillors Bill Davies, Sullivan, Gilchrist, Blakeley and Walter Smith included the following comments:
· He stated that there had been lots of complaints regarding dumping of waste in alleyways. There was a need to educate people about the effects on their neighbourhoods and the “Love Wirral” campaign was aimed at getting this message across. A report would be taken to Cabinet in the New Year on the issue and a pilot scheme would be set up in two or three areas to try and resolve this.
· Since the introduction of the garden waste charge the amount of fly tipping had actually fallen.
· The amount of complaints regarding leaves on pavements and roads was less than in previous years and he would be happy to circulate a breakdown on these figures to all Members.
· He stated that a balance between encouraging business and health and safety was required in respect of the new byelaws for skin piercing activities.
· He was pleased with the successful home composting promotion so far, with over 500 bins having been bought in recent weeks and he would encourage as many people as possible to home compost.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Brian Kenny be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Ann McLachlan on her report and her response to a question from Councillor Mooney included the following comments:
· The Improvement Board would come back in March 2014 and a series of “Next Steps” had been set out by the Board. The Council would continue to maintain progress particularly regarding finance and encouraging the change in culture. The Council would continue to look outward and be a learning organisation keeping up the pace of delivery. She looked forward to the Constitution review early in the New Year.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Ann McLachlan be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Chris Meaden on her report and her responses to questions from Councillors Brighouse, Cox, Elderton, Hodson and Mooney included the following comments:
· The process with regard to greater community involvement in the Williamson Art Galley was complex and involved and yes she would look at other ways to achieve the saving, if required.
· There were no plans to close the Frankby Cemetery site office.
· With regard to the Wirral Transport Museum and tramway the final business plan was awaited and she would let everyone know the outcome of this.
· The NHS had no funding left to roll out to West Wirral the placement of outdoor fitness equipment in parks.
· She outlined a range of diverse options with regard to dealing with people with drug and alcohol problems and reported that she had recently attended an excellent Alcohol Recovery Day.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Chris Meaden be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Harry Smith on his report and his response to a question from Councillor Hornby included the following comment:
· He stated that the Christmas tree lighting programme was not part of his portfolio and had been decided at area level for a number for a number of years now. Constituency Committees could allocate funds in future years or they could appeal to local businesses to help with funding.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor Harry Smith be noted.
Questions were then invited for Councillor George Davies on his report and his response to a question from Councillor Blakeley included the following comment:
· The New Homes Bonus of £1.76m from the Government was welcomed and although the money was not ringfenced his view was that the money should always be used to ensure Wirral could develop and build more homes.
Resolved – That the report of Councillor George Davies be noted.
Questions were then invited for the Policy and Performance Committee Chairs, Councillors Whittingham, Clements, and Brighouse on their report. No questions were posed and it was then –
Resolved – That the report of the Policy and Performance Committee Chairs be noted.
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Leader, item 60. PDF 72 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Adult Social Care, item 60. PDF 58 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Central and Support Services, item 60. PDF 60 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Children and Family Services, item 60. PDF 60 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Economy, item 60. PDF 50 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Environment and Sustainability, item 60. PDF 57 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Governance and Improvement, item 60. PDF 56 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Health and Wellbeing, item 60. PDF 55 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Highways and Transportation, item 60. PDF 47 KB
- Cabinet Portfolio Summary - Neighbourhoods, Housing and Engagement, item 60. PDF 58 KB
- PP Chairs Reports to Council, item 60. PDF 84 KB