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 Democratic Services by 12 noon on 5 December 2018).
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:
(Q2) Mr Robert Evans asked the Cabinet Member for Community Safety,
Fire & Resilience if she felt it would be positive for members of the Surrey Police and Crime Panel to attend the Police and Crime Panel national conference. The Cabinet Member stated that the matter should be directed at the Police and Crime Panel for response.
(Q3) Graham Ellwood asked the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families to confirm what arrangements would to be made to allow residents transport to the remaining children’s centre sites. The Cabinet Member showed support for the family resilience model within Children’s Services and explained that details would be provided following the review of the responses to the consultation.
(Q7) Stephen Cooksey felt that his question had not been responded to and askedthe Cabinet Member to confirm who was responsible for the final decision to close the canteens, what consultations had taken place with staff, and why Member consultation was not taken into account. The Cabinet Member stated that the decision was taken by the Cabinet and had been included in the Cabinet papers for the meeting on 25 September 2018. She further stressed that the decision showed the seriousness of the council’s financial situation. It was noted that alternative catering arrangements had been made and would be reviewed following implementation.
Cabinet Member Briefings: these were also published with the supplementary agenda on 10 December 2018.
Members made the following points:
Deputy Leader: on the need to maintain and clean highway signs in Surrey. The Cabinet Member confirmed that all statutory signs were maintained and cleaned for safety reasons. He further informed Members that some parish councils were beginning to declutter non-statutory signs in their areasas some felt there were too many signs on the counties highways.
Members also queried what powers and responsibilities the county would be seeking for the ‘Transport for the South East’ sub-national transport body. The former Deputy Leader informed Members that the decision still needed to be made on this but that the council would be looking at the legislative body ‘Transport for the North East’ as a guideline while adding in the context of the south east.
In his previous capacity as Cabinet Member for Highways, the Deputy Leader agreed to provide a response to a Member outside the meeting to explain the reasoning for road works taking place on a recently re-laid road.
Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste: on the need for a better railway service for residents as well as an improved delay repay scheme. Members also raised concerns with the Government’s plans to earmark funds from the business rates retention scheme to fund the extra costs of Crossrail 1, rather than Crossrail 2. The Cabinet Member agreed that there was a need for a better rail service in Surrey and stated that he would be meeting with the Chief Executive to discuss these concerns. In regards to Crossrail 1, the Cabinet Member agreed to provide a written response to the Member outside the meeting.
Members also discussed concerns of possible flooding and progress on the Surrey Relief Scheme. The Cabinet Member explained that work was ongoing to mitigate issues and that he hoped to give Members assurances in the coming months.
Members also raised concerns around the closure of Community Recycling Centres and emphasised the importance of considering consultation responses before making a final decision.
Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families: on the Corporate Parenting Promise, which Members were asked to sign prior to the meeting. The Cabinet Member explained that the pledge was a Member promise to listen to the priorities for looked after children when building the corporate parenting strategy. It was noted that information and further updates on work following the pledge would be reported back to the Corporate Parenting Board.
Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire & Resilience: on the significant transformation of the Surrey Fire Service.
Cabinet Member for Finance: was thanked for his work in his previous role as Cabinet Member for Adults. Members highlighted the importance of the ongoing Care and Support Project and stressed that there was a need for this work to continue.