Agenda item


To receive the written reports of the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairs, and to receive questions and answers on any of those reports in accordance with Standing Orders 10(2)(a) and 11.


(The Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairs’ reports will follow in the supplement).



The Mayor introduced the summary reports from the Leader, Cabinet Members and Policy and Performance Committee Chairs and asked for questions on any of the reports.


Councillor Dave Mitchell asked a question of the Leader.


In response the Leader stated that he would write to Councillor Mitchell regarding the issue of a proposed Site of Biological Importance on land for the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort.


Councillor Phil Gilchrist asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure


In response Councillor Stuart Whittingham stated:


·  Whilst Wirral’s Principal and Classified roads were not in perfect condition and would require continued investment to ensure that their overall condition did not deteriorate, they remained amongst the best in England when measured using national survey methods.


·  The Department for Transport publish the data for all local highway authorities each year, and once this year’s results were published Council would see that the statements in the Quarter 2 Monitoring Report in delivering our pledge to provide transport fit for the future and in my Portfolio Summary Report are, indeed, accurate. He would provide Members with a link to the relevant webpage once it was published.


·  The Council would continue to make best use of the structural maintenance allocations from the Combined Authority in the rolling 3 year Capital Programme, which he would present to Cabinet in February, and he reminded Council that the programme for 2017/18 would, once again, include investment by the Council of half a million pounds in the maintenance of unclassified roads; as approved in last year’s budget.


Councillor Stuart Kelly asked questions of the Leader and Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure.


In response comments included:


Councillor Phil Davies

·  Neptune plans for Birkenhead were not progressing because the advice from Officers was the risk associated with the development was loaded on the Council. A more ambitious scheme was being developed, with a master plan exercise currently underway i.e. in consultation with and speaking to investors, developers, relevant civil servant and stakeholders. Consultation with key stakeholders would take place once more details plans emerged, in the Spring.


Councillor Stuart Whittingham

·  There had been progress, and continued planned projects to increase line speeds on the Merseytravel rail network. The priority remains to improve public transport travel. A written answer would be provided with regard to information regarding any proposals to provide additional stations on the rail network in Wirral.


Councillor Pat Cleary asked a question of the Cabinet Member Children and Family Services.


Councillor Tony Smith stated in response:

·  There had indeed been a huge impact on families arising from Government policies relating to the freezing of / or reduction in benefits to households, including changes to housing benefit administration and the ‘bedroom tax’, etc. He had recently attended a meeting of agencies concerned with these measures. The additional pressures on Social Care workers, Employment Support officers and other associated organisations, was clearly being felt.


Councillor Paul Stuart asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure.


Councillor Stuart Whittingham stated in response:

·  It was clear that the transport routes between Wirral and Cheshire/North Wales were important, given the employment opportunities and national road/rail network connections. He had recently attended a meeting at Airbus (near Chester) where the matter had been a topic of discussion and progress was being made with regard to the Borderlands line.


Councillor Tracey Pilgrim asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Communications.


Councillor Mathew Patrick stated in response:

·  It would be helpful to have the input from Constituency Chairs in the compilation of his report and he would be happy to include this e.g. providing examples of work being undertaken in each area. 


Councillor Ian Lewis asked questions of the Cabinet Members for Transformation, Leisure and Culture, Adult Social Care, Children and Family Services, and Transport and Infrastructure.


In response comments included:


Councillor Ann McLachlan

·  The savage cuts to Local Authority funding had brought about the need to employ the most qualified and experienced officers to tackle the transformational challenges ahead. The new postholder had a proven track record in delivering transformation. Sadly a lot of services would in future have to be delivered not by the Authority but in a different way.


Councillor Chris Jones

·  The statement had been made by an NHS officer it was therefore inappropriate to pass comment upon until facts had been verified.


Councillor Tony Smith

·  He would provide a written response to Councillor Lewis on the matter of the Ofsted Report linked to / in relation to Foster Care.


Councillor Stuart Whittingham

·  The subject matter of the ‘New Station Fund’ would be included in his response to Councillor Kelly’s question and a copy would be provided to Councillor Lewis.


Councillor Bernie Mooney asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Public Health.


Councillor Janette Williamson stated in response:

·  Over-prescription of antibiotics was not a matter that had received the publicity it should. It had become increasingly clear of the dangers from over-prescription, and GPs were now leading as ‘guardians’ in the challenge. She highlighted a new Public Health England antibiotic guardian ‘pick-a-pledge’ website where members of the public could learn simple actions to help fight antibiotic resistance and would circulate the details to Members


Councillor Paul Doughty asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Communications.


Councillor Mathew Patrick stated in response:

·  He wished to place on record his thanks to the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in support of the work done in support of the ‘Theatre for Democracy’ project in Wirral.


Councillor Bruce Berry asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure.


Councillor Stuart Whittingham stated in response:

·  He was not aware of the franchising of of any existing bus routes and his question should therefore be directed to Merseytravel in the first instance.


Councillor Jeff Green asked questions of the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care.


In response comments included:


Councillor Phil Davies

·  International Trade Centre – a written question had also been received from Councillor Phil Gilchrist. The plans for this had not progressed due to the lack of confirmation of funds by the project sponsor. The site would now be marketed for employment use.


Councillor Chris Jones

·  No reports of overcharging for care services had been reported to her, but if Councillor Green could provide her with details she would investigate and provide a full written reply to his question.


Councillor Chris Blakeley asked questions of the Leader, the Cabinet Member for Environment, Community Engagement and Communications, and the Chair of the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


In response comments included:


Councillor Phil Davies

·  There were no proposals for the closure of Council owned/run Golf Courses. However due to the Government cuts to Local Authority funding this could not be guaranteed. The Leader welcomed the support of all Members of Council to lobby Government against the cuts.


Councillor Bernie Mooney

·  In thanking Councillor Blakeley for his compliments and support, she informed that the Council was already looking at the expansion of the litter/dog foul enforcement scheme to include play areas, school entrances and walk-to-school routes. She asked Members to let her know (or the Officers concerned) of any particular areas where dog fouling was a serious concern.


Councillor Mathew Patrick

·  A copy of the response to the most recent letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government which would request a meeting would be circulated to all Members of the Council in the New Year.


Councillor Mike Sullivan

·  A great deal of work and debate had already taken place within the Overview and Scrutiny Committees (and their previous incarnations as Policy and Performance Committees). The reason for the proposed development of single, centrally located Fire Station had arisen as a result of savage cuts to the Fire Service by Government. The Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s primary concern was to save lives, and they had considered this proposal was the ‘least worst option’. He would not endorse the decision of the Planning Committee.


Councillor Lesley Rennie asked questions of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, and Transport and Infrastructure.


In response comments included:


Councillor George Davies

·  Statistics on domestic violence showed there had been a decrease in recorded instances over the past 12 month recording period. It was recognised that Merseyside had some of the worst statistics in the country, but local actions were having an effect. He would provide Councillor Rennie with a more detailed written answer.


Councillor Stuart Whittingham

·  The current investment in infrastructure on the Wirral Loop, would no doubt have an impact on travel between the Wirral and Liverpool. Information on the project and contingency planning was available on the Council’s and Merseytravel’s websites which he would be happy to circulate a link to. Whilst work progressed on the rail network, increased pressures on the roads would be monitored using CCTV and control room control of traffic lights to help alleviate congestion.


Councillor Mike Sullivan asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Environment.


Councillor Bernie Mooney stated in response:

·  In addition to normal patrols, the Council service also relied on information provided by residents and Ward Councillors to identify areas where littering and dog fouling was occurring. She informed that since the introduction of the new enforcement scheme 83 penalty notices had been issued, 4 of which had also successfully been progressed through the courts – with offenders named and shamed in the local press – itself a further deterrent to others.



Resolved – That


(1)  each of the Cabinet Portfolio Holders’ Summary reports be noted; and


(2)  the report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairs be noted.


Supporting documents: