Agenda item


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 Councillors Chris Blakeley and Pat Cleary and made a number of comments including –


·  With regard to Wirral Waters and the proposed International Trade Centre discussions were ongoing and an announcement was imminent.

·  The Council was working closely with Neptune Developments on the Birkenhead Town Centre masterplan and a period of consultation would be held with the public, local residents and across the whole of Wirral, although the format of this consultation had not yet been formalised.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Ann McLachlan on her Governance, Commissioning and Improvement Portfolio Report and responses to questions from Councillors Jean Stapleton, Jeff Green and Dave Mitchell included the following comments:


·  Other areas of alternative delivery models might include mutual organisations or shared services, the Council was looking at a range of areas. There were major opportunities to talk about collaboration and further announcements would be made over the coming weeks.

·  Discussions were ongoing with Trade Unions and she acknowledged there would be concerns from the workforce. The idea of alternative delivery models was about securing top quality services for Wirral whilst securing jobs and she hoped that the Trade Union partners would work with the Council.

·  She was confident that the new Community Interest Company, Edsential, would work. The Business Plan had been worked up jointly with Cheshire West and Chester Council partners and the Council was entering into this with optimism and enthusiasm.


Questions were then invited for Councillor George Davies on the Neighbourhoods, Housing and Engagement Portfolio Report and his responses to questions from Councillors Lesley Rennie and Chris Blakeley included the following comments:


·  He would most definitely call in on Justine Molyneux, Chief Executive of Involve Northwest, regarding their work with families who had suffered from domestic abuse.

·  A plan for new housing needed to be up and running by 2017 with a target of 700 properties per year in terms of brownfield sites. He would hope to give a five year guarantee that greenbelt land would not be developed but if it was absolutely necessary then the Council would have to go out to consultation on this.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Pat Hackett on the Economy Portfolio report. No questions were posed.


Questions were invited for Councillor Adrian Jones on the Support Services Portfolio Report and his responses to questions from Councillors Chris Blakeley, Janette Williamson, Chris Spriggs, Chris Carubia and Phil Gilchrist included the following comments:


·  With regard to Morris Homes and an exclusivity period in respect of the Acre Lane site he was not aware of the timescale on this but he would report back to Councillor Gilchrist with this information.

·  He asked that Councillor Blakeley provide his question regarding IT equipment in writing so that he could provide a written response.

·  The redesigned Council website was now much easier to use, fully mobile responsive for use with tablets, smartphones, laptops or desktop PCs. The project had been completed entirely in-house with a spend of just £10,000, which was from a Local Government Association grant. 1000 residents had taken part in user testing of the new website.

·  He reiterated the necessity for the refurbishment works which had taken place in Wallasey Town Hall, including the need for a new lift because of the additional floor brought into use for a large number of staff and the need for new steel staircases under health and safety requirements.


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. Her responses to questions from Councillors Steve Foulkes, Wendy Clements and Chris Blakeley, included the following comments:


·  She remarked upon the good news for Ridgeway Library which Ridgeway High School would now be operating. It would be open from 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays.

·  12 Saturday staff had now been taken on so hopefully the recent closure of Irby Library would not happen again.

·  She was aware of a shortage of Invigor8 staff but more staff had now been employed on a rota basis, so hopefully the situation of a leisure pool being closed during normal opening times would not re-occur.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Bernie Mooney on her Environment and Sustainability Portfolio report. Her responses to questions from Councillors Adam Sykes and Chris Carubia included the following comments:


·  The problem of litter was taken very seriously and if there was a particular problem in Thornton Hough she would be happy to take this up once she was provided with the details.

·  £3,600 worth of fines had been collected, 97% of which came from dropping cigarette waste. Very few fixed penalty notices had been contested and of those that were, nobody had won their appeal as all evidence was recorded on video.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Tony Smith on his Children and Family Services Portfolio report. In response to questions from Councillors Rob Gregson, Alan Brighouse and Dave Mitchell his comments included:


·  With regard to pledge 2 in the Council Plan, there was a good level of development in the Early Years Foundation Stage at school, with (provisional) results rising by 6.8% from 2014, to 69.7% this year. This compared with a national increase of 6.2% and a national average of 66.2%. Wirral was also reaching more vulnerable young children from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them the crucial support they needed to do well at school and beyond, through the funded early learning for two year olds.

·  In respect of pledge 3, provisional GCSE results for 2015 were positive, with an increase in children achieving 5 A* - C from 69.2% to 72.8%, and an increase in children achieving 5 A* - C including English and Maths from 60% to 61.6%.

·  There were no implications in terms of extra funding from the Authority for the Youth Zone and a presentation on the Challenge Project could be made to which all Members would be invited.


Questions were then invited for Councillor Stuart Whittingham on his Highways and Transport Portfolio report. His responses to questions from Councillors John Salter, Phil Gilchrist and Brian Kenny included the following comments:


·  It was unavoidable that replacement of the Dock Bridges would lead to some disruption but the alternative of doing nothing would also lead to disruption when the bridges became unusable.

·  He was happy with the performance of the BAM Nuttall Highway Services contract.

·  Work was ongoing with the LED Street Lighting Strategy and there had been lots of favourable comments in those areas where the installation had been completed.


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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