Agenda item

Councillors' Questions

Please note that Councillors are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the first page of this agenda (acting on behalf of the Corporate Director) not later than 5pm on Tuesday 4 November 2012.  Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Councillors prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.



The Chairman reported receipt of questions from Councillors Ernie Clark, Nicholas Fogg, Stephen Oldrieve and Chris Caswill details of which were circulated and attached as Appendix B to these minutes together with the responses given.


Questioners agreed to take their questions as read and were given an opportunity to ask a relevant supplementary question to which the relevant Cabinet member responded. Supplementary questions are summarised as follows and should be read in conjunction with the questions and responses:


Cllr Steve Oldrieve – Question on the changes to policy at the Wiltshire Probation Service – asked if the Leader as a local Division member for Chippenham agreed with the submitted question. The Leader explained that policy change referred to was the responsibility of the Wiltshire Probation Service but that she would obtain further information on this issue.


Cllr Ernie Clark – Question on recovery of non pensionable honorarium payments – sought details of the legal team’s recommendations on this issue. The Leader explained that the Corporate Leadership Team would in due course and in consultation with her, consider recommendations. Given that details could not be discussed in open session, the Leader suggested that Cllr Clark should discuss the matter with the Monitoring Officer.


Cllr Ernie Clark – Question on the KPMG Executive Summary on the non pensionable honorarium payments – asked that given the advice received, what was being done to recover the increased redundancy payment. The Leader referred to her response to the supplementary question above.


Cllr Ernie Clark – Question on the KPMG Executive Summary on the non pensionable honorarium payments – asked how many other redactions had been made to the full report. The Leader suggested that Cllr Clark may also wish to discuss this with the Monitoring Officer and explained that the Council had a duty to follow the advice of the Information Commissioner on what information could be released into the public domain.


Cllr Chris Caswill – Wiltshire Core Strategy and wind farms – asked what had happened between the Cabinet meeting on 19 June and Council meeting on 26 June 2012 which resulted in a different conclusion and the inclusion of an amendment in respect of wind farms by the Council. The Leader explained that it was a different debate at the Council meeting where all members present had the opportunity to be involved and not just the Cabinet. She considered that this represented good governance as it demonstrated that Council considered all the issues involved and did not simply endorse the Cabinet proposals.


Cllr Chris Caswill – Privatisation of the care service – Concern over privatisation of care services by the Health and Wellbeing Board.  The Leader assured Cllr Caswill that the Council would examine the outcomes and challenge if there were any concerns. She advised that Healthwatch would also be represented on the Health and Wellbeing Board which would also play a part in keeping a close eye on the situation.


Cllr Chris Caswill – Winterbourne View – asked whether Cllr John Thomson shared his concerns over the transition from the NHS to the CCG. Cllr John Thomson explained that the issues raised at Winterbourne View were of interest to all local authorities and those in care and their families. Whilst doctors would be responsible for commissioning services, they would not be responsible for commissioning mental health services, which would be commissioned by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. Cllr Thomson further advised that the Council was in the process of providing further information to parents of children being provided with mental health services. This was with a view to examining the way the Council provided support and communicated with those affected.


Cllr Chris Caswill – Pay Day loans – referred to new statistics which showed a 50% increase in those taking out pay day loans or considering them – asked that more should be done to regulate pay day loans.  The Leader advised that a report would be considered by Cabinet in February 2013. She considered that the community banks of which there were 3 or 4 in the County should join together to provide an alternative to the temptation of the pay day loan. The Leader considered that the Government should be lobbied on this issue and that television adverts for pay day loan companies should be banned. She suggested a joint letter from her as Leader and the Leader of the Opposition be sent to lobby the Government. Cllr Thomson also explained that the Council was considering investing money into Credit Unions to enable them to take on more work.



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