Agenda item


To receive the written reports of the Leader, Cabinet Members and Chair of the Policy and Performance Coordinating Committee 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 Councillors Phil Gilchrist, Phill Brightmore, Stuart Kelly and Leah Fraser and made a number of comments including –


·  The terms of reference of the Task Group, which the Combined Authority had established to look into tunnel tolls and costs, were still being finalised but he would ensure that the three areas of work: (i) looking into how the tunnels surplus had been used in recent years; (ii) if and how Mersey Ferry operations were being supported out of this surplus and; (iii) the status of any understanding that surpluses had been spent on transportation schemes of mutual benefit, would be included as part of the review being undertaken. These points would be covered in the final report and shared with all Members of the Council.

·  In acknowledging the LGC award for ‘Most Improved Council’, he thanked the two Party leaders at the time three years ago when the Council had been in a ‘bad place’, Councillors Jeff Green and former Councillor Tom Harney, for their support with some of the decisions that had had to be taken. He also placed on record a huge thanks to all staff within every part of the Council who were the Council’s most important resource and who had helped to achieve this recognition.

·  There was a need to redouble efforts in getting the proposed new stations on the Wirral higher up the priority scale and he would discuss this with the Chair and Chief Executive of Merseytravel.

·  In response to a number of detailed questions on the operation of the Emergency Control Room, the redundancies of 11 staff and the operation of CCTV monitoring, the Leader stated that he would supply a written answer.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Ann McLachlan on her Governance, Commissioning and Improvement Portfolio report. Her responses to a question from Councillor Janette Williamson included the following comments –


·  Checks and balances were carried out through regular reports to the Audit and Risk Management Committee and an absolutely key move was the establishment of the Governance, Commissioning and Improvement portfolio.

·  Regular monthly Cabinet reports were presented on the financial health of the Authority and she undertook regular examination of a number of key risks from the Corporate Risk Register.


Questions were then invited for Councillor George Davies on the Neighbourhoods, Housing and Engagement Portfolio report.


At this point, Councillor Jeff Green declared a prejudicial interest by virtue of being a Board Member of Magenta Living and left the meeting for questions to Councillor Davies.


The Mayor, Councillors Stuart Whittingham and Denise Roberts declared personal interests by virtue them being Board Members of Magenta Living.


No questions were posed to Councillor George Davies.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Adrian Jones on his Support Services Portfolio report. His responses to questions from Councillors Matt Daniel, Chris Spriggs and Chris Blakeley included the following comments –


·  He outlined the income received by the Council through asset disposals over recent years:

2012/13 - £1.1m; 2013/14 - £2.3m; 2014/15 - £2.8m

Anticipated income from future years was:

2015/16 - £10m; 2016/17 - £14m, beyond this it would be difficult to estimate.

·  Contractors had on the previous Friday made changes to the network which had affected mobile telephones and access to computers but this had been rectified within 2 hours. He was confident the measures were in place to deal with any future problems that might arise. He also explained the reasons for the computers locking out after 15 minutes and assured the Council that he would supply all Members with a written response on these ICT matters.


As Councillor Bernie Mooney had sent her apologies no questions on her Environment and Sustainability Portfolio report were invited.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Chris Jones on the Adult Social Care and Public Health Portfolio report. No questions were posed.


Moving onto the Leisure, Sport and Culture Portfolio report, questions were then invited for Councillor Chris Meaden. In response to questions from Councillors Mike Hornby and Tom Anderson on issues arising at some community libraries in respect of opening hours and various activities taking place outside of scheduled opening hours, she assured the Council that she would provide written responses.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Pat Hackett on his Economy Portfolio report. His responses to questions from Councillors Dave Mitchell and Jeff Green included the following comments –


·  The first stage of the Birkenhead Master Plan had now been submitted to Cabinet on 12 March, 2015. The first part of the Plan envisaged moving Europa Pools to behind the Conway Park station; this was only the first phase of a bigger plan to regenerate Birkenhead creating a great many jobs and which was now out to consultation with Trades Unions, businesses and residents.

·  Every aspect of the operation of the Birkenhead Market would be looked at including the market charter.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Stuart Whittingham on his Highways and Transport Portfolio report. His responses to questions from Councillors Paul Doughty, Harry Smith, Dave Mitchell, Stuart Kelly and Wendy Clements included the following comments:


·  He was aware that a backlog of street lighting faults had been cleared but not every street light which was out was necessarily reported. Tough choices had had to be made such as a reduction in night time inspections due to cuts in Government grants.

·  He was confident that the Dock Bridges replacement scheme would go ahead.

·  He paid tribute to the work that Councillor Harry Smith had done in his role as Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport and commented upon the latest Department for Transport road conditions survey which put Wirral at the very top with only 1 per cent of Wirral’s A, B and C roads in need of maintenance.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Tony Smith on his Children and Family Services Portfolio report. No questions were posed.


Questions were then invited for the Policy and Performance Committee Chairs on their report. No questions were posed and it was then –


Resolved –


(1)  That each of the Cabinet Portfolio Summary reports be noted.


(2)  That the report of the Policy and Performance Committee Chairs be noted.

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