(1) The Leader of the Council or the appropriate Member of the Cabinet or the Chairman of a Committee to answer any questions on any matter relating to the powers and duties of the County Council, or which affects the county.
(Note: Notice of questions in respect of the above item on the agenda must be given in writing, preferably by e-mail, to Anne Gowing in Democratic Services by 12 noon on Wednesday 2 December 2015).
(2) Cabinet Member Briefings on their portfolios
These will be circulated by email to all Members prior to the County Council meeting, together with the Members’ questions and responses.
There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions.
Notice of 14 questions had been received. The questions and replies are attached as Appendix B.
A number of supplementary questions were asked and a summary of the main points is set out below:
(Q3) Mrs Watson asked the Leader of the Council if the route for the Prudential Ride London event could be varied each year and was informed that the route would be agreed with the London Marathon company but that the County Council would take into account the best route for the event. He also reminded Members that the event had generated £1.2m for local sporting and recreational charities.
(Q7) Mr Harrison suggested that the threat of possible closures of some Community Recycling Centres (CRCs), as part of the proposals to make savings, was a sham and asked the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning if he agreed. The Cabinet Member said that possible closures had formed part of the consultation process. Details of all proposals for savings had been analysed and there would be a further report to the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Scrutiny Board in January.
(Q8) Mr Barker asked the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning why no data relating to Guildford Borough was included in the table. He was advised that this information had been requested but not yet received. It was also noted that there was a problem with the tabulation of the table and the Cabinet Member agreed to re-issue it to all Members.
Mr Beardsmore drew the Cabinet Member’s attention to the high pollution in the Sunbury Cross / Staines area of Spelthorne, where he said there was the highest concentration of schools in Surrey and said this was of concern to him.
(Q9) Mr Essex asked the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Health if she intended to lobby Government for fairer funding for public health in Surrey. She confirmed that this would happen, as she had stated at the last Cabinet meeting.
(Q10) Mr Robert Evans said that whilst a facsimile copy of the 1297 Magna Carta would be welcome, he was interested in pursuing and obtaining the original copy from the Australian Government and asked the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Health for her views. She considered that the original would cost a great deal of time, effort and money and that the County’s priorities were to concentrate on providing services for Surrey residents. However, she hoped that a facsimile copy would be possible and this could be displayed at County Hall in the future.
(Q12) Mr Sydney asked if this response could be shared with his local residents. This was confirmed in the verbal response from the Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing. Mr Sydney also considered that the Internal Audit team’s report on the Community Partner Libraries (CPL) had contained a number of inaccuracies which he would be taking up outside the meeting. He also questioned the success of CPLs, saying that they were running at a lower footfall than before.
The Cabinet Member considered that he had provided a factual response and assured Mr Sydney that he would continue to update him on the future arrangements for Lingfield library.
(Q14) Mr Essex asked the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning what investment would be required to deliver the proposed £8m savings for Surrey Waste Partnership (SWP) and was advised that SWP did not normally invest in capital so the Council would be re-looking at how the budget was allocated to enable Surrey to achieve its recycling targets.
Cabinet Member Briefings on their portfolios are attached as Appendix C.
Members made the following comments:
· Good wishes and thanks to Dave Sargeant, Strategic Director for Adult Social Care, who had worked in the service in Surrey for 32 years and would be retiring at the end of December 2015. Members wished him a long and happy retirement. They also welcomed the appointment of Helen Atkinson as Head of the combined Adults and Public Health Services.
· Rail – three priority options identified in the 2013 Surrey Rail document were set out in the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning’s briefing. He was asked if there was a similar document for South West trains and its on-going consultation. The Cabinet Member agreed to make this available to Members.
· Community Recycling Centres – the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning was asked about negotiations taking place to transfer these centres to Boroughs and Districts. The Cabinet Member informed Members that the matter was still being considered by the Strategic Director and that he had no updates to report at present.
· On behalf of the Spelthorne area, thanks were expressed to the local Highways team, who had responded to 8,000 calls since January, most of which had been satisfactorily resolved.