LEADER'S, EXECUTIVE MEMBERS' AND CHAIRS REPORTS
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 Councillor Jeff Green and made a number of comments including –
· Information that all budget options were to be scrutinised by the relevant Policy and Performance Committees during January 2016 prior to the matter being reported to Cabinet in February 2016.
· Adult Social Care (ASC) the 2% precept to be levied as a result of the Chancellor’s autumn statement must be spent on ASC. There was a fundamental unfairness that the ‘grey tax’ would generate £800 million nationally, when £2 billion was needed. The figure required in Wirral was £8.4 million. Wirral’s elderly population and low tax base placed an unfair burden on local tax payers for an important service that should be funded by central government, not creating a ‘pay as you go’ type service.
· With regards to making savings through staff cuts in specific areas, the duties of the officer concerned included work on the 2020 Vision / Wirral Plan in addition to continued work involving the Joint Authority.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Ann McLachlan on her Transformation and Improvement Portfolio Report and her response to questions from Councillor Janette Williamson included the following comments:
· The Transformation Programme included 80 initiatives e.g. ‘Wirral Evolutions’ a pioneering service for adults with learning disabilities.
· Information on the development of an ongoing strategy and a 5 year budget plan.
Questions were then invited for Councillor George Davies on the Housing and Engagement Portfolio Report. No questions were posed.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Pat Hackett on the Business and Tourism Portfolio Report and his responses to questions from Councillors Chris Blakeley and Alan Brighouse included the following comments:
· Work was continuing on the development of an International Trade Centre (the Leader also informed that although no specific timescale has been confirmed and the matter was commercially sensitive, members would be notified as soon as negotiations were complete).
· Additional work was going on behind the scenes with regard to proposals to transform Birkenhead.
Questions were invited for Councillor Adrian Jones on the Finance, Assets and Technology Portfolio Report and his responses to questions from Councillors Chris Blakeley and Chris Carubia included the following comments:
· ICT access issues: cyber security remained a key priority for Wirral, and although other Local Authorities might appear to have less restrictive access for those working remotely, some had suffered high cost penalties as a result i.e. hacking or system failures. More information about the recent system outage was awaited.
· Access to the Council Website: Following initial measurements were encouraging with a9.6% fall in bounce rate in November (this measures the number of visits where people come straight in and out of the site without looking at another page). People were now looking at more content in less time, and in November people looked at 8% more pages in 13% less time, compared to the six months between April and September (the new website went live on 6 October, 2015).
Questions were then invited for Councillor Chris Jones on the Adult Care and Public Health Portfolio Report. No questions were posed.
Moving onto the Leisure and Culture Portfolio report, questions were then invited for Councillor Chris Meaden. Her responses to questions from Councillor Alan Brighouse included the following comments:
· A written response would be provided to Cllr Brighouse’s question asking ‘if a bid was to be submitted for heritage status for Birkenhead Park, and if the Cabinet Member would actively support it’.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Bernie Mooney on her Environment Protection Portfolio Report and her responses to questions from Councillor Pat Cleary included the following comments:
· Much research had already been undertaken on the matter of recycling, and a report on Wirral Council’s Waste Management Strategy containing 3 primary recommendations was due for consideration by Cabinet at its meeting on 17 December, 2015.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Tony Smith on his Children and Families Portfolio Report and his responses to questions from Councillors Wendy Clements and Louise Reece-Jones included the following comments:
· An Ofsted inspection was expected shortly, and the Council’s schools continue to prepare themselves. Changes to the inspection framework had introduced challenges, and having spoken with other local authorities given the continued re-organisations over the past three years as a result of the framework change ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ evaluations were extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. That said: the Council was hopeful that its efforts to engage and adapt would achieve a good outcome.
· School transport for those with special needs: the Council had to look at those services for the most vulnerable on an individual basis. The protection of mandatory services would take priority, but the savings targets of £20 million would present a most difficult future.
Questions were then invited for Councillor Stuart Whittingham on his Highways and Transport Portfolio Report and his responses to questions from Councillors Brian Kenny, Geoffrey Watt and Alan Brighouse included the following comments:
· L.E.D. street lighting: where units had been introduced feedback had been good, with positive comments regarding the quality of light.
· Street lighting - general: night-time audits continued to form part of the process, prioritising junctions and areas with pedestrian crossings. A figure on the number of outstanding repairs would be provided and reported back to Members.
· With regards to car parking and under-utilised facilities, the Council had reduced its fees last year in an effort to encourage off-street parking.
Questions were then invited for the Policy and Performance Committee Chairs on their report. No questions were posed, and it was then –
Resolved – That
1) each of the Cabinet Portfolio Summary reports be noted; and
2) the report of the Policy and Performance Committee Chairs be noted.
- Cllr Phil Davies, item 77. PDF 63 KB
- Cllr Ann McLachlan, item 77. PDF 57 KB
- Cllr George Davies, item 77. PDF 57 KB
- Cllr Pat Hackett, item 77. PDF 75 KB
- Cllr Adrian Jones, item 77. PDF 72 KB
- Cllr Christine Jones, item 77. PDF 56 KB
- Cllr Christine Meaden, item 77. PDF 69 KB
- Cllr Bernie Mooney, item 77. PDF 63 KB
- Cllr Tony Smith, item 77. PDF 69 KB
- Cllr Stuart Whittingham, item 77. PDF 86 KB
- P&P Chairs' Report to Council 14.12.15, item 77. PDF 74 KB