Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda item

Questions to the Cabinet Leader and Cabinet Members received under Standing Order 11.3(a)

To deal with the following questions to the Cabinet Leader and / or other Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 11.3(a):

 

(i)        To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“Given public scepticism about overseas trips by cabinet members can the leader give an update on the tangible results to come from these trips under his administration?

 

(ii)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Aspden:

 

“What is the value of the investment – detailing each development separately - made in York which can be directly attributed to the Council and its partners’ participation in the 2013 MIPIM event?”

 

(iii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“At the last ordinary Council meeting held in December, the Cabinet Member for Leisure claimed that the Council Leader would answer the following question when information became available in January. Perhaps the Leader would now give us the information: Can the Cabinet Member outline how much additional income the Council can expect to receive from parking charges, rents, leases, licences, sponsorship and similar income streams during and after the ‘Grand Départ’?”

 

(iv)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Hyman:

 

“How many residents (excluding council officers and members) have attended each of the “community conversation” events held so far?”

 

(v)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Cuthbertson:

 

“What has been the cost of staging the community conversation events held so far?”

 

(vi)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Runciman

 

“Please could the Cabinet Leader present a list showing York’s ranking in all sections of the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Centre for Cities: Cities Outlook reports?”

 

(vii)   To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“In light of the leader’s remarks that himself and Cllr Merrett should not be personally pinpointed for the Lendal Bridge farce, who does he think should take the blame?”

 

(viii)  To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“How much has the Council spent both directly and indirectly (through partners such as the Leeds City Region) on promotional activities connected with this year’s MIPIM event held in Cannes and what benefits did this cost bring?

 

(ix)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“Following confused messages from the Labour budget and cabinet members’ comments on ‘privatisation’ can the leader confirm whether he agrees that if the private sector can deliver an output cheaper and better than the public sector that it makes sense for it to do so?”

 

(x)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“ Who attended this year’s MIPIM event for the council and could the Leader provide a breakdown of costs –attendance, travel, subsistence and accommodation etc?”

 

(xi)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“What percentage of York’s residents does the leader believe support the current closure of Lendal Bridge?”

 

(xii)   To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Did any representatives from City of York Council attend the ‘Urbact’ event in Paris in January and if they did what the purpose of the visit, what were the costs, and what benefits did attendance bring?”

 

(xiii)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“When was the facility to report potholes, faulty street lights, blocked footpaths etc removed from the “Do it on line - Report it” section of the council website and when will a full range of reporting tools be restored?”

 

(xiv) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Firth:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member please update the answer he gave at the December Council meeting and specify for each of the last 6 months the number of issues raised by the different Council access channels (listing separately those originating from web based services such as “My Council”)?”

 

(xv)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“What action has the Cabinet Member taken to ensure that residents use the cheapest (to process) channel to access council services?”

 

(xvi) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

“According to a response to a recent FOI request the Council rents nearly 2,000 mobile phones and other mobile devices for use by its 3,500 staff. How much are these devices costing taxpayers,  how many of the devices have call charges of less that £10 a month, and has the Cabinet Member considered offering staff the option of a payment if they choose to use their own mobile devices when at work instead of a council supplied alternative?”

 

(xvii)   To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“How much has been spent on new furniture at the Eco Depot in each year since it was opened, and what is the estimated life cycle of the new chairs provided at the Eco Depot a few weeks ago?”

 

(xviii)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“How much has the Council received in payment for any “obsolete” furniture at the Eco Depot which has been discarded?”

 

(xix) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member specify the number of public complaints received by the council by department in each of the last two calendar years and outline how complaints about the council are recorded and monitored?”

 

(xx)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Jeffries

 

“How many complaints about the Council were received by month from the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman) and ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) in each of the last 24 months?”

 

(xxi) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Cuthbertson:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member please supply the monitoring statistics for the call centre including waiting times and lost calls for each of the last 24 months?”

 

(xxii)   To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre

 

“How many residents have signed up to 12 monthly council tax payments by month since January 2013 and how is the Council making it easier for residents to sign-up to this payment structure?”

 

(xxiii)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Which council staff are directors of organisations/businesses in their professional capacity, what expenses/payments were made to each of them in the 2013/2014 calendar year, and where is this information declared?”

 

(xxiv) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

“For 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 could the Cabinet Member please list the salaries for each of the chief officers increments and performance pay plus pension contributions?”

 

(xxv)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member list all the council twitter accounts across all departments, including any partnership twitter accounts, where council staff manage or officially upload to those sites?”

 

(xxvi) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“Why are residents no longer routinely given a reference number when making a complaint to the council?”

 

(xxvii)                To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Steward:

 

“Does the leader share Cllr Semylen’s view that there is no point giving residents a say on 20mph zones and if so does he believe they should not have a say on just that issue or all issues?”

 

(xxviii)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

When does the Cabinet Member expect the next Local Plan consultation to take place?”

 

(xxix) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

Does the Cabinet Member share my disappointment that with the previous Local Plan consultation having ended in July there is still a lack of feedback from residents on the website?”

 

(xxx)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

Given public concern about the lack of Local Plan Working Group meetings and that with the exception of HMOs the group has yet to discuss any aspect of housing for the last nine months, what guarantee can the member give about the number of meetings that will be held this coming year?”

 

(xxxi) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

“Can the member update council on his work with organisations looking to bring forward Neighbourhood Plans?”

 

(xxxii)                To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

“Can the member give details of Parish Council meetings he has attended to discuss the Local Plan since the last consultation and what plans he has for the rest of the year?”

 

(xxxiii)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“On the Lendal Bridge/Coppergate access restrictions, would the Cabinet Member now provide the latest information on the following and explain when he expects to publish period 6 monitoring information on the council’s website.

a)  The number of appeals lodged each week since the beginning of August against PCNs issued for contraventions of traffic restrictions on Coppergate and Lendal Bridge

b)  The number of appeals which have been successful each week

c)  The total revenue that the Council has received so far from PCNs following the introduction of the new restrictions on Coppergate and Lendal Bridge

d)  The weekly changes to journey times (all modes of transport) on each arterial road and on each section of the inner ring road since the introduction of the new traffic restrictions

e)  The numbers of accidents reported on roads in the City centre comparing the last 6 months with the equivalent period in 2012/13

f)  The latest air quality monitoring reports for key sites in and close to the City centre, including the Leeman Road area, and comparing these with last year?”

 

(xxxiv)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“When will a timetable of meetings be published at which residents can make representations on the (revised) Local Plan proposals?”

 

(xxxv)               To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“Why is it taking so long to publish – as promised – the written comments and objections which the Council received following its initial consultation on the Draft Local Plan last year?”

 

(xxxvi)               To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“What is the proposed timetable for the preparation of the Local Plan up to, and beyond, the Examination in Public (Public Inquiry)?”

 

(xxxvii)            To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Orrell:

 

“Can the Cabinet Member explain why the token system for the Park & Ride at Monks Cross is no longer working, how long has it not been in operation, and is it true that the token system will be started again when John Lewis and M&S stores open in April?”

 

(xxxviii)           To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“When and why did the Council remove from its website the real time car park space availability information and, as this is a facility provided by many other councils, when will this service be reinstated in York?”

 

(xxxix)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“How much of the £238,000 already spent on implementing new speed limits in west York will the Council be able to recover if the policy is reversed in 2015?”

 

(xl)    To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“ Will the Cabinet Member agree not to roll out the new wide area 20mph limits in east York at least until a cost/benefit analysis has been completed of the west York scheme and electors have had the opportunity - at the May 2015 local elections - to give their verdict on this policy?”

 

(xli)   To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member share Cllr Semlyen’s well publicised view that changes to speed limits should be made without any consultation with local residents?”

 

(xlii)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“The car parks all give electronic signs showing how full they are. For each of the last 12 months please state any times when they were not working?”

 

(xliii)To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism from Cllr Ayre:

 

“If the Council presses ahead with its £1.6 million market modernisation project the existing stallholders will be temporarily relocated to Parliament Street. Where will current Parliament Street users - including the Continental Markets and the Food Festival - be relocated to and is the Cabinet Member considering the use of spaces such as Duncombe Place or Deans Park?”

 

(xliv)   To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism from Cllr Ayre:

 

“On York’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Media Arts - how much money has been allocated for the bid, from which budget has this been allocated from, what is the money being spent on, who authorised the bid to go ahead and when was this decision taken?”

 

(xlv) To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“The Smarter York app provides a very limited set of tools - how much did it cost to develop, how much does it cost to maintain, and how many reports have been made in each of the last 3 years?”

 

(xlvi)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“Street lighting is now dealt with in house, could the Cabinet Member publish the performance standards for repairing faulty lights and outline whether these standards are currently being met?”

 

(xlvii)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Aspden:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member outline the projects and incentives in place to increase recycling rates and specify how these projects are being assessed?”

 

(xlviii)                To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many residents have signed-up for the additional green bin charge?”

 

(xlix)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member share the growing concern of residents about the volume of dog fouling in York and what steps has he taken to address the problem and what measures are in place to monitor the effectiveness of his policies?”

 

(l)        To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“In each of the last 5 years how many prosecutions – including FPNs – has the Council initiated for dog fouling?”

 

(li)      To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Council note and some Members will be concerned, myself included, that all appears to have gone very quiet with developments relating to the Elderly Persons Homes programme. Can Councillor Simpson-Laing please give assurances that the project is still planned to be delivered as detailed in previous Cabinet reports by 2016?”

 

(lii)     To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“The current breakdown of housing waiting list demand is:

1 Bed

1347

2 Bed

740

3 Bed

212

4 Bed

32

5 Bed

1

6 Bed

1

Given this, why is the Cabinet Member not using some of the £13 million surplus on the housing account to purchase flats on the open market to address the need for more one bedroom properties?”

 

(liii)    To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“In view of the declining appearance of many of the council estates in York, will the Cabinet Member agree, when the next housing strategy report is debated, to consider a substantial increase in the funding available to address issues like parking provision, replacement fencing, and communal area maintenance etc?”

 

(liv)   To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Aspden:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member specify how many residents are affected by the ending of the Taxicard scheme and what support/advice is being offered to these residents?”

 

(lv)    To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Can that Cabinet Member guarantee that the housing advice sessions which currently take place at Foxwood and Chapelfields community centres will continue in the long-term?”

 

(lvi)   To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“A council garage next to Beverley Court was reported for repair in October 2012 having been boarded up for many months. Given the shortage of parking in the area will the Cabinet Member explain when this garage will be repaired for rent, how much rent has been lost, why it has taken so long to be repaid and how many other garages in the city (with their locations) have been reported for repair for over 6 months and how much rent they would have achieved had they been occupied?”

 

(lvii)  To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“In light of her recent report to scrutiny, does the Cabinet Member think that York Schools and Governing Bodies are not challenging enough and are not aspirational for their students, unlike those in London?”

 

(lviii)To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“When will the ‘York Challenge’ be ready, will plans be consulted on with schools and governing bodies and when are results expected to be available so that its effectiveness can be assessed?”

 

(lix)   To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“How will the Cabinet Member ensure that the £5m of Pupil Premium funding is being spent wisely and to good effect – including to narrow the gap between those eligible for FSM and those who are not?”

 

(lx)    To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“The nine Children’s Centres established under the Liberal Democrat administration have done some excellent work, but does the Cabinet Member understand that their work will be made much more difficult due to the cuts being imposed by Labour that are coming into effect during the next financial year?”

 

(lxi)   To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Aspden:

 

“In light of the excellent work being done by Children’s Centres in York will the Cabinet Member confirm that all centres will remain open and under council control if Labour retain power in 2015?”

 

(lxii)  To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member confirm the current status of the URBIE bus and the plans for this service over the next 12 months?”

 

(lxiii)To the Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member agree with the view of the Equality Advisory Group, as specified in the minutes of the March 5th meeting, that: “EAG meetings need representation from all the political parties to listen to the views raised and to find out what each of the parties are saying about equalities?”

 

Minutes:

Sixty three questions to the Leader and Cabinet Members had been received under Standing Order 11.3(a).  The guillotine having fallen at this point, Members agreed to receive written answers to their questions, as set out below:

 

(i)        To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“Given public scepticism about overseas trips by cabinet members can the leader give an update on the tangible results to come from these trips under his administration?”

 

Reply:

“Firstly, it is misleading of Coun. Steward to imply that overseas trips by Cabinet Members are a common occurrence, but on rare occasions representing a global city requires international travel. It may surprise the opposition but York having a global brand is not enough. Sometimes you have to use this brand to gain tangible benefits.

 

In a study of the most promising investment locations in Europe, fDi Magazine (Financial Times) named York in the top ten European Cities and Regions of the Future in two categories. We placed:

 

·        Ninth - Small European Cities - Overall

·        Eighth - Small European Cities - FDI strategy

In addition, the following benefits have accrued from these trips:

 

1.   Real investor leads which have been introduced to landowners of key sites in the city, and which are keen to engage with these opportunities, such as York Central, Nestle South and the University’s Heslington East campus as and when these open to procurement of developer and/or investor partners

2.   Tour de France coming to York

3.   Global media coverage for York with regards to the Tour de France

4.   Swedish model of operating elderly persons homes (visit not paid for by the council)

5.   Tourism partnerships

6.   A renewal of our twinning with Dijon”

 

(ii)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Aspden:

 

“What is the value of the investment – detailing each development separately - made in York which can be directly attributed to the Council and its partners’ participation in the 2013 MIPIM event?”

 

Reply:

“The nature of the developments promoted at 2013 and 2014 – namely, sites including York Central, Biovale at Heslington East, Guildhall, and a strategic city deal package (which would pair some of these developments with infrastructure investment into a single package), are of a scale and complexity that formal processes to engage investors are still being developed.  When procurement of investors and potential partners are put to the market, the investor leads generated and fostered through MIPIM and the follow up undertaken throughout the year with these investors will be made clear.

 

As Coun. Aspden will know from his membership of the YEP Board, the business community have expressed their support for the city of York being represented at MIPIM and are firmly behind this initiative.”

 

(iii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“At the last ordinary Council meeting held in December, the Cabinet Member for Leisure claimed that the Council Leader would answer the following question when information became available in January. Perhaps the Leader would now give us the information: Can the Cabinet Member outline how much additional income the Council can expect to receive from parking charges, rents, leases, licences, sponsorship and similar income streams during and after the ‘Grand Départ’?”

 

Reply:

“There are certain stipulations made by ASO – the owners of the Tour de France to ensure councils do not hike up car parking charges and so on excessively – making the Tour de France a less enjoyable and accessible experience. There are also certain regulations with regards to sponsorship and the other elements you refer to.

 

Although there are undoubted benefits to businesses with regards to the Tour de France – especially in the hotel and guest house sector, I would have said at the last Full Council meeting that my expectations on income would have been circa £175k directly to the council.

 

However, since the last meeting of Full Council I know you have been very vigorous in opposing the opportunity to generate this income through proposed camping. I suspect the negative publicity generated will harm the number of expected campers so in this respect Coun. Ayre can consider his efforts successful, but they are also likely to impact on the income generated directly to the council.

 

It must be remembered that more than creating income to the council, though important, our main objectives are to ensure local businesses benefit hugely from this once in a lifetime opportunity and that York successfully hosts a global event that residents and visitors remember for the right reasons for years and years to come.

 

As detailed in previous Cabinet reports, the economic benefits regionally are projected to be up to £100m for Yorkshire, and £30m in press and promotional opportunities.  Clearly York’s businesses stand to reap the rewards of our being a stage start city.”

 

(iv)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Hyman:

 

“How many residents (excluding council officers and members) have attended each of the “community conversation” events held so far?”

 

Reply:

“Four meetings have taken place so far and attendance figures supplied by officers are as follows:

 

1.   Haxby and Wigginton – 61 (including 20 or so children)

2.   Westfield – 15

3.   Hull Road – 26

4.   Clifton – 16

I would like to thank opposition councillors for their participation and I welcome the positive feedback they have given me about the meetings.”

 

(v)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Cuthbertson:

 

“What has been the cost of staging the community conversation events held so far?”

 

Reply:

“£772.25.”

 

(vi)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Runciman

 

“Please could the Cabinet Leader present a list showing York’s ranking in all sections of the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Centre for Cities: Cities Outlook reports?”

 

Reply:

“The council does employ a researcher who works for the Liberal Democrat Group and I didn’t apply for this job when it became available. I suggest you ask him to do this research for you. However, in the spirit of cooperation, please find links to the reports in question.

 

2014: http://www.centreforcities.org/assets/files/2014/Cities_Outlook_2014.pdf

 

2013: http://www.centreforcities.org/assets/files/2013/CITIES_OUTLOOK_2013_FINAL.pdf

 

2012:

http://centreforcities.cdn.meteoric.net/CITIES_OUTLOOK_2012.pdf

 

2011:

http://www.centreforcities.org/research/2011/01/24/outlook11/

 

(vii) To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“In light of the leader’s remarks that himself and Cllr Merrett should not be personally pinpointed for the Lendal Bridge farce, who does he think should take the blame?”

 

Reply:

“I don’t think any individual should be so personally associated with any policy that is collectively agreed, that was my point. So where should blame be apportioned? I would argue that Conservative North Yorkshire County Council who discussed this trial in 1974 should have initiated a trial and I also believe Liberal Democrats arguing against policies set out in their own transport plans passed shortly before the last local elections is hypocritical. 

 

Your predecessor argued in The Press before the last local elections for this trial to proceed but inclusive of Ouse Bridge closing, not just Lendal Bridge. Councillor Watt expressed his support for the trial at a recent scrutiny meeting, a view I’m sure someone with such certainty in his beliefs he retains to this day. So whilst your view may differ from the ex-Leader of your Group, it is unconvincing that it is a Conservative Group view and more likely one reflecting the need to try and make your mark.”

 

(viii) To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“How much has the Council spent both directly and indirectly (through partners such as the Leeds City Region) on promotional activities connected with this year’s MIPIM event held in Cannes and what benefits did this cost bring?

 

Reply:

“See responses to Qs 2 (on MIPIM 2013) and 10.  Ultimately the benefits of this year’s event will be better known only in the months and years that follow when we see what investor interest results from our attendance.”

 

(ix) To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“Following confused messages from the Labour budget and cabinet members’ comments on ‘privatisation’ can the leader confirm whether he agrees that if the private sector can deliver an output cheaper and better than the public sector that it makes sense for it to do so?”

 

Reply:

“The private sector is sometimes best to provide some public services, but not all. Conservatives ideologically want to see private companies operating mass public services and making a profit from them. My Labour colleagues and I are pragmatic but we disagree with this wholesale approach. Such an approach undermines local accountability and democracy.  Ultimately it is what is in the interests of the city’s residents and taxpayers, and that is plurality of service provision.

 

If Coun. Steward is offering his vision for public services in York, then I think he’d be a better fit for Barnet or Hammersmith than in York where quality of service as well as cost is an important consideration.”

 

(x) To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Who attended this year’s MIPIM event for the council and could the Leader provide a breakdown of costs –attendance, travel, subsistence and accommodation etc?”

 

Reply:

Kersten England (CX) (2 night stay); Katie Stewart (Head of ED) and Andrew Sharp (Strategy and Investment Manager for ED) (both 4 night stays) attended. 

 

Accommodation: £2943.95

Travel: £2653.24

Subsistence for KS and AS: £150 approx.

 

Overall total: £5,747.19”

 

(xi) To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“What percentage of York’s residents does the leader believe support the current closure of Lendal Bridge?”

 

Reply:

“I think Coun. Steward may be surprised by how many residents support it.  The arguments have been well rehearsed so I will not go over them again, save to say that it is an irresponsible and short-termist political Group who only looks to the next 12 months rather than the next 12 years in how the city’s manages its transport network and tackles traffic congestion.

 

Once we have fully analysed the six month data then we will better know how important a question this is.”

 

(xii) To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Did any representatives from City of York Council attend the ‘Urbact’ event in Paris in January and if they did what the purpose of the visit, what were the costs, and what benefits did attendance bring?”

 

Reply:

“URBACT is a European cities collaboration programme, funded through the European Commission. In the autumn the council successfully bid to lead a project as part of the URBACT programme. URBACT have funded 9 new projects that were launched at the start of the year. The meeting in January was the kick-off meeting for these projects. Representatives from the council attended as the lead partner in one project, as did representatives from the three other cities participating with us in our project (Tallinn in Estonia, San Sebastián in Spain and Syracuse in Italy).

 

The meeting was organised by the URBACT secretariat and it’s purpose was twofold: firstly, it was for URBACT to bring together all the city partners from the 9 projects that were being launched in order to meet the cities and communicate the key principles and processes for the programme to all cities at once; secondly, it was to act as the first opportunity for the city representatives to meet face-to-face, to begin detailed work on initiating and planning their individual projects and to identify where other projects within the group had beneficial links to each other. A total of 42 cities from across Europe were represented at the event as part of the 9 projects.

 

There was no event fee in order to attend. The costs for attending the event were entirely met from within the project budget allocated by URBACT (made available through ERDF funding). The travel and accommodation costs for the York project delegation was £1,856 (for 4 people) and were covered by this European funding. Through the project budget, ERDF funding also covered the costs of the officer time taken to attend the event.

 

This project will help develop our work on community collaboration and social innovation in York to increase the local impact. It also creates a stronger platform from which to bid for larger blocks of funding in the future, particularly in the new rounds of European funding becoming available over the next 18 months. Through working with other cities in the UK and Europe on projects such as this, we are able to increase the quality of our brand and thus attract others to work with us or invest in the city – thus creating local benefits for York through generating social value, creating local jobs and developing export markets. We are also gaining significant insight in how to transfer good practice effectively within cities, an area that cities across the UK struggle with and in which York will have a clear expertise by the end of this project.

 

The three other cities in our project have expertise of there own in different areas which are also of value to York. Working on such a project builds strong links which can be used to lever other investment and support from these cities on both current and future initiatives.

 

Through Siracusa, we have already generated interest in their representatives attending our Fairness Conference in the summer, helping create a more diverse event with alternative perspectives on the subject. Through San Sebastian, we are now looking to participate in their graduate placement scheme, which will see graduates being funded by San Sebastian to undertake placements of 8 months or more in businesses or organisations in York – providing the opportunity for them engaging high quality graduates that could otherwise be unaffordable to many organisations.”

 

xiii) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid

 

“When was the facility to report potholes, faulty street lights, blocked footpaths etc removed from the “Do it on line - Report it” section of the council website and when will a full range of reporting tools be restored?”

 

Reply:

“The facility/functionality was removed in November. This followed a change in Google maps programming which affected the facility. We have been working on a permanent fix or its replacement, and we expect to have this fully resolved by late April.”

 

xiv) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Firth

 

Would the Cabinet Member please update the answer he gave at the December Council meeting and specify for each of the last 6 months the number of issues raised by the different Council access channels (listing separately those originating from web based services such as “My Council”)?

 

Reply:

“The December response only focussed on Customer Services (CBSS) and Smarter York Channels and this information is as follows. I cannot yet provide the March data until after the month end.

 

 

Oct-13

Nov-13

Dec-13

Jan-14

Feb-14

 

 

Total Calls

31270

24703

19776

26219

21568

 

Total Footfall

12906

10766

7377

11843

9767

 

Total Email

5835

4767

3153

4758

2481*

* no info yet from some areas eg estate managers/RSLs

Do It Online

2248

1246

722

949

*

*corporate produced report not yet available

 

Smarter York App

 

52

 

28

 

27

 

25

 

45”

 

 

xv) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid

“What action has the Cabinet Member taken to ensure that residents use the cheapest (to process) channel to access council services?”

Reply:

“In October 2013 I proposed at Cabinet that the Council agreed to build a transformation programme: re-wiring public services.  Details of the programme were brought by me to Cabinet and approved on 11th February 2014 and subsequently by Full council on 27th February 2014.  It is recognised that the website has been improved to make it easier for customers to find what they need on-line however, too much of the current interaction with the council remains through traditional routes and the use of online and self services has yet to be fully exploited. 

 

To ensure residents are using the cheapest channels to access council services we must, through the transformation programme:-

 

üChange our website from being an effective library of information, into a transactional site where residents and visitors can interact with the council through systems such as web-chat

üCreate a ‘my account’ model of service for our customers

üEncourage all customers to sign up to an online account which will provide them with regular updates by SMS, email or facebook

 

I am personally committed to ensure that this happens and I will serve throughout the next year as the political lead for the Cabinet on the Rewiring Public Services programme.”

 

xvi) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre

 

“According to a response to a recent FOI request the Council rents nearly 2,000 mobile phones and other mobile devices for use by its 3,500 staff. How much are these devices costing taxpayers,  how many of the devices have call charges of less that £10 a month, and has the Cabinet Member considered offering staff the option of a payment if they choose to use their own mobile devices when at work instead of a council supplied alternative?”

 

Reply:

“Mobile Phones and other mobile devices cost the Council approximately £80k per year. The current call charges arrangement that we have in place is for a pool of minutes. All CYC to CYC mobile calls are free, all mobile to landline calls are free, all texts are free. The pool also covers all calls to mobiles that are on other networks.

 

In term of offering staff the option of a payment if they choose to use their own mobile devices when at work instead of a council supplied alternative, I have no objection in principle. However, in the case of data i.e. emails, the only way that this could be allowed due to cabinet office Public Sector Network regulations regarding information security would be to insist that a mobile device management (MDM) client was installed on their personal handsets to ensure that they were kept secure, able to be tracked and wiped remotely as well as having a number of other measures imposed upon them including a requirement for complex password logins on their own phones. As well as being a potential unwelcome set of measures to have on your own phone, the authority would also then be entering into the realm of potentially providing support for personal equipment that is used for work purposes which would come at a significant cost. It would also introduce risks including who owns the data held on the device, where would we stand in terms of FOI requests etc as well as the fact that there would be a cost associated with providing the client for the MDM.

 

This would make accessing emails very difficult to achieve and would almost certainly ensure that staff would have to only use Council owned devices for this, at which point it would make no sense to offer devices only for email use.

 

I am happy to keep this matter under review if some of these practical issues can be overcome.”

 

xvii) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid

 

“How much has been spent on new furniture at the Eco Depot in each year since it was opened, and what is the estimated life cycle of the new chairs provided at the Eco Depot a few weeks ago?”

 

Reply:

“Financial records show expenditure as follows:

 

2007/8;      £2,587

2008/9;      £1,196

2009/10;    £2,852

2010/11;    £599

2011/12;    £1,896

2012/13;    £479.97

2013/14;    £26,807

 

Total £36,418.

 

The new chairs which were provided at Hazel Court EcoDepot recently are the same as those which were provided at West Offices.  They have a rating which means that they would be expected to last 5 years with normal 9-5 type use.  The contract requires that spare parts are available for 10 years.

 

The majority of the chairs on site were new when the building opened in 2006 and had reached the end of their life (typically five years).  Flexible working arrangments can require staff to use a variety of work stations and standard model adjustable chairs are required.”

 

xviii) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid

 

 “How much has the Council received in payment for any “obsolete” furniture at the Eco Depot which has been discarded?

 

Reply:

“No payment was received for the end-of-life chairs as the chairs were not suitable for resale

 

Our Health & Safety team inspected all the old chairs prior to the new chairs being installed and those which were no longer serviceable were identified andremoved by Clear Environments via the supplier; Flexiform.  The chairs will have the gas lifts removed and correctly discharged and disposed of and hard plastic and metal parts will be recycled.  Chairs which were still serviceable were either retained (where they were newer and in good condition or particular to individuals due to medical issues) or were offered to staff who may be able to use them for home working.”

 

xix) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre

 “Could the Cabinet Member specify the number of public complaints received by the council by department in each of the last two calendar years and outline how complaints about the council are recorded and monitored?”

Reply:

1st September 2012 to 31st  March 2013

 

Adults                                                                  24 complaints

Children’s                                                           15 complaints

Office of the Chief Executive                                       1 complaint

Customer & Business Support                         72 complaints

City & Environmental Services                         254 complaints

Communities & Neighbourhoods                    161 complaints

 

1st April 2013 to date 21st March 2014

 

Public health/adults                                           41 complaints    

Children’s                                                            42 complaints    

Office of the Chief Executive                            4 complaints      

Customer & Business Support                         317 complaints  

City & Environmental Services                         1018 complaints

Communities & Neighbourhoods                     393 complaints  

 

We only have access to reportable figures for complaints across all of the directorates, since September 2012 when the centralised team was formed. As such a full comparison between one year and the other cannot be made.

 

To record and monitor complaints, we follow the council complaints procedures.  You can view the procedures on the council’s website at:

 http://www.york.gov.uk/info/200167/customer_services/42/comments_compliments_complaints_and_suggestions

 

Complaints and feedback are recorded on the Respond database, which is able to record information including name, address, date received, record type, team, outcome, in or out of time and a summary of the feedback. Cases are given a unique reference number to help identify the correct feedback record.”

 

 

 

xx)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Jeffries

 

“How many complaints about the Council were received by month from the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman) and ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) in each of the last 24 months?”

 

Reply:

“We only have access to reportable figures for both LGO and ICO complaints raised against the council going back to September 2012 when the centralised team was formed.

 

September 2012 to 31st  March 2013

 

LGO total = 11 ICO total = 4

 

LGO           Sept  Oct    Nov   Dec   Jan   Feb   March

 

Adult          -        -        -        -        -        -        -

 

Child          -        -        -        1       -        -        -

 

CEX           -        -        -        -        -        -        -

 

CBSS         -        -        -        -        -        -        1

 

CES           1       1       -        1       -        -        1

 

CAN           1       1       1       -        2       -        -

 

ICO            Sept  Oct    Nov   Dec   Jan   Feb   March

 

Adult          -        -        -        -        1       -        -

 

Child          -        -        -        -        -        -        -

 

CEX           -        -        -        -        1       -        -

 

CBSS         -        -        -        -        1       -        -

 

CES           -        -        -        -        -        1       -

 

CAN           -        -        -        -        -        -        -

 

1st April 2013 to date 21st March 2014

 

LGO total = 27 ICO total = 5

 

LGO   April May       June    July     Aug      Sept     Oct    Nov       Dec   Jan     Feb     March

 

Adult   -         -           -           1          1          -           -           -           -           1          -           -

 

Child   -         -           -           1          1          -           -           2          -           -           -           -

 

CEX    -         -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           1          -           -

 

CBSS -         -           1          -           1          1          -           -           -           -           -           -

 

CES  2         2          1          1          2          1          -           1          -           -           1          1

 

CAN  -           1          -           -           -           1          -           1          -           1          -           -

 

ICO   April     May     June    July     Aug      Sept     Oct      Nov     Dec     Jan      Feb      March

 

Adult             -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -

 

Child             -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -

 

CEX              -           -           -           1          -           -           -           -           -           -           -

 

CBSS           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -

 

CES              1          -           -           -           1          -           -           -           -           2          -

 

CAN              -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -“

 

xxi) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Cuthbertson

 

“Could the Cabinet Member please supply the monitoring statistics for the call centre including waiting times and lost calls for each of the last 24 months?”

 

Reply:

“Due to the Mitel telephone reporting system being unavailable due to technical problems in March 2013, the ability to report fully on that time period is restricted.  Below tables show the available figures for both the customer centre (YCC) phone team and dedicated Benefits Service phone team:

 

Combined YCC and Benefits Service

 

Data

% of calls answered in 20 secs

No of  calls offered

 No of  calls handled

% abandoned calls

Apr 13

23.7

33587

19260

41.2

May

28.2

29971

19847

33.2

Jun

31.4

26277

18782

28.5

Jul

24.5

34132

22039

35.4

Aug

45.2

26797

21660

19.2

Sep

35.9

32953

24244

26.4

Oct

38.3

31245

23660

22.2

Nov

58.4

24702

21048

11.2

Dec

62.9

19790

17599

9.3

Jan 14

63.2

26218

23498

9.2

Feb

74.5

21568

20153

5.7

Mar

61.2

17034

14862

11.0

 

For the previous 12 months April 2012 to March 2013, again we had reporting restrictions due to the downtime of the Mitel reporting product in March 2013 and the upgrade that followed this. 

 

We have used archived reports for 2012/13, which do not have the base calculations sitting behind them to allow us to combine the data easily, therefore the data for YCC and Benefits is presented separately.

 

YCC April 2012 to Feb 2013 *

*

Data

% of calls ans In 20 secs.

No. Calls Offered

No. Calls Handled

% Abandoned Calls

April 12

60.90

21493

18834

12.40

May

68.90

20683

18854

8.80

June

45.20

20614

16263

21.10

July

53.00

22154

18710

15.50

Aug

49.80

20236

17017

15.90

Sept

29.50

21827

15073

30.90

Oct

26.90

25116

17099

31.90

Nov

57.60

21174

18363

13.30

Dec

58.10

15595

13701

12.10

Jan 13

40.10

25275

19486

22.90

Feb

33.30

21374

15496

27.50

 

Benefits service - April 2012 to Feb 2013

 

Data

% Calls Answered in 20 secs

No of Calls Offered

No of Calls Answered

% Calls

Abandoned

April 12

79.9

2487

2336

6.1

May

81.8

2569

2358

8.2

June

85.8

2040

1904

6.7

July

66.9

2500

2146

14.2

Aug

78.2

2137

1976

7.5

Sept

73.8

2111

1914

9.3

Oct

67.0

2773

2191

12.1

Nov

72.3

2527

2229

11.8

Dec

76.3

1709

1553

9.1

Jan 13

48.7

3210

2438

24

Feb

56.0

2357

1882

20.2

 

xxii) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

 “How many residents have signed up to 12 monthly council tax payments by month since January 2013 and how is the Council making it easier for residents to sign-up to this payment structure?”

 

Reply:

“The table below sets out the numbers who have registered. 12 monthly payments were only introduced by the Government from April 13. The bills went out in March and people started to sign up from this date.

 

In terms of ‘how the council is making it easier to sign up’ we have promoted 12 monthly instalments on the bills and website. In addition all Council Tax Support (CTS) customers were made aware directly of the opportunity to sign up in 2013.  The council continues to promote 12 monthly instalments when talking to customers specifically CTS customers and continues to promote it on all council tax bills.  Customers registering for e-billing can also register easily for 12 monthly instalments.

 

Even before the Government amended the regulations where customers had approached the council with difficulty in paying their bills 12 monthly arrangements were offered to help. 

 

CTAX  12 monthly instalment payers - March 2013 onwards

 

for 2013-14 Year

Nos

for 2014-15 Year

Nos

 

Mar-13

610

Mar-14

1618

 

Apr-13

1018

 

May-13

1209

 

Jun-13

1299

 

Jul-13

1354

 

Aug-13

1369

 

Sep-13

1415

 

Oct-13

1455

 

Nov-13

1533

 

Dec-13

1559

 

Jan-14

1579

 

Feb-14

1561

 

Mar-14

1600

 

 

(xxiii) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

“Which council staff are directors of organisations/businesses in their professional capacity, what expenses/payments were made to each of them in the 2013/2014 calendar year, and where is this information declared?”

 

Reply:

“This information is not declared anywhere specifically although for 2013/14 we have agreed with our auditors that we will include an enhanced disclosure note in the final accounts relating to City of York Trading Ltd in lieu of preparing group accounts.

 

Director information for City of Trading Ltd are shown at:

 

http://cytlimited.co.uk/about-us/meet-the-directors.aspx

 

·        Ian Floyd

·        Pauline Stuchfield

·        Andy Docherty

·        Tracey Carter

 

Also part of the final accounts the council is currently collating 2013/14 related party interests but this work is not finished

 

Directorships known to be in existence for Directors/ Assistant Directors are:

 

Kersten England - a non executive director of Science City York and Trustee of Nesta , the UK Innovation Charity (a company limited by guarantee)

Ian Floyd – a Director of Veritau Ltd

Darren Richardson - a Director of Yorwaste Ltd

Sally Burns – a Director at York Cares.

Dr Paul- Edmondson Jones – Company Secretary of Association of Directors of Public Health (a company limited by guarantee).

Katie Stewart – a Director at York Business School and at York Science Park Ltd

No expenses/payments are known to be paid for these roles with the exception of Nesta that pays for attendance at its Board meetings in London.

 

I am also a Director of City of York Trading Company and Veritau Ltd. I do not receive any payments for either position.”

 

(xxiv) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Ayre:

 

 “For 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 could the Cabinet Member please list the salaries for each of the chief officers increments and performance pay plus pension contributions?”

 

Reply:

“For 2011/12 the salaries for Chief Officers are shown below and the 2012/13 and 2013/14 pay policies were presented to Full Council ahead of each year which can be found at:

 

for 2012/13:

 

http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=331&MId=7062&Ver=4

 

and 2013/14:

 

http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=331&MId=6281&Ver=4

 

and on the council’s transparency web pages at:

 

http://www.york.gov.uk/downloads/download/2135/pay_policy

 

Job Title                           

Salary 2011/12

Chief Executive

133750

Director of City and Environmental Services

102766

Director of Adult, Children and Education Services

102766

Director of Customer and Business Support Services

102766

Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods

102766

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

73401

Assistant Director - Facilities Management School and Children's Strategy and Planning

68413

Assistant Director - Children’s Specialist Services

68413

Assistant Director - Adult Commissioning Modernisation and Provision

68413

Assistant Director - Housing and Community Safety

68413

Assistant Director - Culture Leisure and Public Realm

68413

Assistant Director - Finance  Asset Management and Procurement

73401

Assistant Director - Customers and Employees

73401

Assistant Director - Legal Civic Democratic and IT

73401

Assistant Director - City Development and Sustainability

68413

Assistant Director - Highways Fleet and Waste

68413

Assistant Director - Strategic Planning and Transport

68413

 

The Chief Executive is the only officer on performance related incremental progression, which is based on a performance review conducted by the Leader of the Council each year.  A similar scheme is currently being considered for other Chief Officers.

 

It is worth noting that the Chief Executive has qualified for the performance related merit of her salary on merit in every year since her appointment but has never accepted the payment for this at any time. She is to be commended for the public spirited attitude and commitment to public service that this shows.

 

In terms of pension contributions for the period 2011/14, these remained static as follows:

 

Assistant Directors – Employee contribution rate 7.2%. Employer contribution rate 19.7%.

 

Directors and Chief Exec – Employee contribution rate 7.5%. Employer contribution rate 19.7%.

 

This will change under new LGPS 2014 changes which will result in employee contributions for this group increasing to between 9.9% and 11.4%.”

 

xxv) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

 “Could the Cabinet Member list all the council twitter accounts across all departments, including any partnership twitter accounts, where council staff manage or officially upload to those sites? 

 

Reply:

“Twitter accounts as referred to are held by the Council for the following areas:

 

City of York Council Ranger Service

Explore York Libraries and Archives

Illuminating York

York City Centre & Markets Team

York Family Information Service

York Wards

York Youth Council

City of York Council UK

City of York Council

Love where You Live York

MISYork

YorkCityCentre

York Festivals

York Travel

York Neighbourhoods

John Oxley

York Family Information Service

York Libraries

Workforce Development Unit

Yortime

Zero Waste York

Experience the race

Newgate Market

York apprentices

Smarter York

York Gritter

iTravel York

York Learning

York community stadium

York 20mph

CYC waste

York means business

York markets12

Procurement York

Mansion House

York stories 2012

York 800

Energise

Safer York

Just30

York libraries (one for every library plus York Libraries UK central account)

Haxby

Strensall

Bishopthorpe

Copmanthorpe

Tang Hall

Clifton

Acomb

New Earswick

Huntington

Fulford

Poppleton

Dringhouses

York Explore

York Wards (one for every account plus York Wards central account)

 

Acomb

Clifton

Derwent

Dringhouses

Fishergate

Guildhall

Haxby

Heslington

Heworth

Heworth Without

Holgate

Hull Road

Huntington

Micklegate

Osbaldwick

Rural West York

Skelton

Strensall

Westfield”

 

xxvi) To the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Customer Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“Why are residents no longer routinely given a reference number when making a complaint to the council?”

 

Reply:

“Customers are routinely given a reference number when they make a complaint. Occasionally customers will not receive a reference number at stage one before they receive a response, because of the short timescale for the response, but in most cases even at stage one they will be sent an acknowledgement letter with the reference number.

 

If the question is about Councillor enquiries, where the councillor is raising something the customer is unhappy with, the Council does not and never has contacted the customer to give them a reference number, although if it comes through the Complaints & Feedback Team, a reference number would be allocated.”

 

(xxvii)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Steward:

 

“Does the leader share Cllr Semylen’s view that there is no point giving residents a say on 20mph zones and if so does he believe they should not have a say on just that issue or all issues?”

 

Reply:

“Anna Semlyen is a campaign manager for 20’sPlenty in her personal, as opposed to Councillor capacity.  The 20s Plenty group is not involved with City of York Council’s implementation and roll-out of signed-only 20mph limits in residential areas, and as such any comments or remarks made by her in her personal capacity as campaign manager (or by the 20s Plenty group) should be taken as such, as I understand was the original context of the remarks you refer to.

 

As with any other change in speed limit, there is rightly a statutory requirement for the notices relating to the Speed Limit Order to be advertised.  This gives an opportunity for resident and other objections if there are any issues which they believe should lead to an amendment or stopping of any Order coming into effect.”

 

 (xxviii)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

“When does the Cabinet Member expect the next Local Plan consultation to take place?”

 

Reply:

“During the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation additional information on sites was submitted by landowners and developers. Reports relating to these sites will be considered at the Local Plan Working Group and a special Cabinet in late April and this will be followed by public consultation.”

 

(xxix) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member share my disappointment that with the previous Local Plan consultation having ended in July there is still a lack of feedback from residents on the website?”

 

Reply:

“This has been an important task which needed to be carried out in a legally compliant way. This has involved the time consuming job of having to take personal information out of all the responses so as to comply with the Data Protection Act. This work is now substantially complete. In addition to help anyone viewing this information, officers have been working on a summary to help identify responses. This information will be uploaded to the council’s website and will be available before the end of April.”

 

(xxx)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

“Given public concern about the lack of Local Plan Working Group meetings and that with the exception of HMOs the group has yet to discuss any aspect of housing for the last nine months, what guarantee can the member give about the number of meetings that will be held this coming year?”

 

Reply:

“A number of Local Plan Working Groups have taken place since the Local Plan P.O Consultation including one on the 4th November 2013 where Members considered a report which provided feedback on the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation. The report summarised the consultation undertaken, outlined the number of responses received, highlighted some of the key emerging messages and set out the next steps for producing the Local Plan. On the 13th January 2014 Members considered a report which advised them of the current position with regard to progress on the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan for North Yorkshire, York and North York Moors. Members considered the report which sought approval in respect of the Issues and Options consultation documents, this included important issues such as Fracking. A Local Plan Working Group has also been set up for the end of April in relation to additional sites put forward at the Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation.”

 

In addition I can guarantee it will meet when decisions on the emerging Local Plan are required.”

 

(xxxi) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

“Can the member update council on his work with organisations looking to bring forward Neighbourhood Plans?”

 

Reply:

“Progress has been made with three Neighbourhood Plans including Dunnington, Copmanthorpe and Murton. Dunnington have undertaken a 6 week consultation and submission is imminent, Copmanthorpe are working towards consultation, Murton have just submitted an application to the City of York Council for a 6 week publication period with a decision session at the end of April.”

 

(xxxii) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Watt:

 

“Can the member give details of Parish Council meetings he has attended to discuss the Local Plan since the last consultation and what plans he has for the rest of the year?”

 

Reply:

“Officers intend to engage Parish Councils on the additional sites which were submitted at the Local Plan Preferred Options Stage and are currently discussing with the Chairman of the York Branch Yorkshire Local Council Association (YLCA) how they would like to be involved. Discussions are taking place about an event in May. The YLCA does not cover all Parish Councils but it is hoped that this event can we widened out to all Parish Councils.”

 

(xxxiii) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“On the Lendal Bridge/Coppergate access restrictions, would the Cabinet Member now provide the latest information on the following and explain when he expects to publish period 6 monitoring information on the council’s website.

 

a)   The number of appeals lodged each week since the beginning of August against PCNs issued for contraventions of traffic restrictions on Coppergate and Lendal Bridge

 

Reply:

Data on the numbers of appeals is not collated in this way. However, to date, there have been 3988 appeals received for Coppergate and 11658 appeals for Lendal Bridge.

 

b)   The number of appeals which have been successful each week

 

Reply:

As above although only two appeals have been successfully contested. Additionally, CYC have taken the decision not to contest some cases.

 

c)   The total revenue that the Council has received so far from PCNs following the introduction of the new restrictions on Coppergate and Lendal Bridge

 

Reply:

As of 21st March 2014, income received by the Council was £2,006,315.

 

d)   The weekly changes to journey times (all modes of transport) on each arterial road and on each section of the inner ring road since the introduction of the new traffic restrictions

 

Reply:

Monthly data for P&R journey times has already been published along with traffic volumes on a number of key arterials.

 

Data for general traffic from the TrafficMaster dataset is currently being analysed for the full period of the trial.

 

A preliminary analysis comparing October and November 2012 to the same period in 2013 has been done giving the changes in average travel times, broken down by hour of day for before and after the start of the trial

 

This preliminary analysis (Draft Annex A) shows that the majority of the arterial routes into the city have been unaffected by the trial - this is confirmed by data from automatic traffic counters.

 

Bootham, Gillygate, Lord Mayors Walk, Clarence Street, St Leonards Place, Museum Street, Lendal Arch Gyratory have shown significant reductions in travel times.

 

Blossom Street, Queen Street and Nunnery Lane approaches Micklegate Bar, Holgate Road inbound and the cross city route Tower Street to Rougier Street are also showing general improvements.

 

Foss Islands Road, Layerthorpe Bridge, Walmgate Bar and Fishergate Gyratory show an increase in travel times to the east of the city.  Water End / Clifton Green shows a slight worsening during much of the day but a more significant worsening during the PM peak  The transport team are currently undertaking a more detailed analysis of the data – looking at the variability in travel times at Clifton Green and Water End in particular.

 

e)   The numbers of accidents reported on roads in the City centre comparing the last 6 months with the equivalent period in 2012/13

 

Reply:

Accident stats for Jan / Feb 2014 are not yet available from the Police.

Accident rates comparing the four months Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec 2012 to same period during the trial for the Inner Ring Road, Water End and cross city routes – Coppergate and Ouse Bridge.

 

Total reported accidents during the first four months of the trial, during the restriction period have halved from 16(0 serious) in 2012 to 8(*1 serious) in 2013.

(*The serious injury accident was a motorcyclist injured at the junction of Paragon Street / Fawcett Street) 

 

 

Accidents occurring at all times of day

 

Vehicle

Cycle

Pedestrian

Total

 

2012

2013

2012

2013

2012

2013

2012

2013

Fatal

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Serious

0

3

0

0

1

1

1

4

Slight

11

6

18

8

4

5

33

19

Total

11

9

18

8

5

6

34

23

 

 

Accidents occurring within Lendal Bridge Restriction Times

 - 10:30 to 17:00

 

Vehicle

Cycle

Pedestrian

Total

 

2012

2013

2012

2013

2012

2013

2012

2013

Fatal

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Serious

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

Slight

6

3

8

2

2

2

16

7

Total

6

4

8

2

2

2

16

8

 

A wider cordon covering all the city centre, Holgate road and Water End shows accident rates drop from 33 (3 serious) to 17 (2 serious) for the 4 months Sep-Dec 2012 to Sep-Dec 2013.

 

Whilst these results are encouraging they are based on small samples and random variation and other factors might be responsible.

 

f)    The latest air quality monitoring reports for key sites in and close to the City centre, including the Leeman Road area, and comparing these with last year?”

 

Reply:

“The data from the air quality ‘real time’ monitoring sites and diffusion tubes has now been collected for the trial period and is being analysed by the Environmental Protection Unit in conjunction with ITS Leeds. The results will be reported to the 6 May Cabinet meeting.”

 

(xxxiv) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“When will a timetable of meetings be published at which residents can make representations on the (revised) Local Plan proposals?”

 

Reply:

“The CYC Local Plan website has been updated and highlights that during the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation additional information on sites was submitted by landowners and developers.  Before making any final decision on sites to include in the Local Plan the council would like to understand public views on this additional information. Reports relating to this will be considered at the Local Plan Working Group and a special cabinet in late April and this will be followed by public consultation.

It is anticipated that a final draft of the Local Plan will be published for consultation mid-year and submitted for examination in Autumn.”

(xxxv) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“Why is it taking so long to publish – as promised – the written comments and objections which the Council received following its initial consultation on the Draft Local Plan last year?”

 

Reply:

“This has been an important task which needed to be carried out in a legally compliant way. This has involved the time consuming job of having to take personal information out of all the responses so as to comply with the Data Protection Act. This work is now substantially complete. In addition to help anyone viewing this information, officers have been working on a summary to help identify responses. This information will be uploaded to the council’s website and will be available before the end of April.” 

 

(xxxvi) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“What is the proposed timetable for the preparation of the Local Plan up to, and beyond, the Examination in Public (Public Inquiry)?”

 

Reply:

“Reports relating to additional submitted sites will be considered at the Local Plan Working Group and a special cabinet in late April and this will be followed by public consultation. It is anticipated that a final draft of the Local Plan will be published for consultation mid-year and submitted for examination in Autumn, with adoption in 2015”.

 

(xxxvii) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Orrell:

 

“Can the Cabinet Member explain why the token system for the Park & Ride at Monks Cross is no longer working, how long has it not been in operation, and is it true that the token system will be started again when John Lewis and M&S stores open in April?”

 

Reply:

“The system has been out of action for around 2 years following breakdowns affecting the main barriers and the handheld equipment.

 

The Council and First are working together to get the barrier system operational again. Officers met with the system supplier last week, to determine how the barriers can be brought back into working order as soon as possible. Depending on the extent of the work it is anticipated that the barrier system will be repaired before the opening of the new retail park.”

 

(xxxviii) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“When and why did the Council remove from its website the real time car park space availability information and, as this is a facility provided by many other councils, when will this service be reinstated in York?”

 

Reply:

“The real time car park space availability is not operational at the moment as a scheme to migrate the counting equipment in the car parks to the Council’s Fibre Network is underway. The need for this change, which will ultimately reduce the system’s operating costs has been brought about by the move from St Leonard’s Place to West Offices. Due to the age of the car park counting equipment, this project has required a considerable degree of re-engineering of the equipment. We are now in the final stages of this and expect to have live information from the car parks available on the website by May 2014.”

 

(xxxix) To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“How much of the £238,000 already spent on implementing new speed limits in west York will the Council be able to recover if the policy is reversed in 2015?”

 

Reply:

“As I do not anticipate the Liberal Democrats will win the election given their near absorption by the Conservative Party nationally, the 20 mph policy, which is entirely in line with the Tory / Lib Dem Government’s and former Lib Dem Transport Minister, Norman Baker’s guidance, and only objected to by a small % of York residents, when the West York scheme was rolled out, is unlikely to be reversed.

 

The capital funding has mostly been spent on various unrecoverable items such as labour costs, project management, plant equipment and hire, engineering fees, printing and distribution of materials etc.  The poles and 20mph signs used would have some modest resale value.”

 

(xl)    To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“Will the Cabinet Member agree not to roll out the new wide area 20mph limits in east York at least until a cost/benefit analysis has been completed of the west York scheme and electors have had the opportunity - at the May 2015 local elections - to give their verdict on this policy?”

 

Reply:

“The North and East York schemes will be rolled out in line with Labour’s manifesto pledge. Comprehensive residential area schemes are far far cheaper per mile of road to deliver than Cllr Reid’s preferred 20mph zone preference, and fully in line with Tory / Lib Dem Government’s and former Lib Dem Transport Minister, Norman Baker’s guidance.”

 

(xli)   To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member share Cllr Semlyen’s well publicised view that changes to speed limits should be made without any consultation with local residents?”

 

“See response to question xxvii”

 

(xlii)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“The car parks all give electronic signs showing how full they are. For each of the last 12 months please state any times when they were not working?”

 

Reply:

“The majority of electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS) around the City are not operational at the moment and we are currently undertaking a project to refurbish them. The VMS range in age from 9 to 14 years old, which in their electronic components are effectively life-expired. To address this, a specialist contractor has recently commenced a refurbishment programme to bring them up to date, replace failed and obsolete components and recondition their mechanical parts. This work is almost complete for the first three VMS to be treated and it is intended that the remaining ones, (both outer ring-road and city centre car-parking) will be completed by the end of October 2014.”

 

(xliii) To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourismfrom Cllr Ayre:

 

If the Council presses ahead with its £1.6 million market modernisation project the existing stallholders will be temporarily relocated to Parliament Street. Where will current Parliament Street users - including the Continental Markets and the Food

Festival - be relocated to and is the Cabinet Member considering the use of spaces such as Duncombe Place or Deans Park?

 

Reply:

I am pleased to be able to report that this exciting scheme is on track and will commence on site in July.  Stallholders will be located in Parliament Street during July to October.  We have planned the calendar so that there are no events requiring relocation.

 

(xliv) To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourismfrom Cllr Ayre:

 

On Yorks bid to become a UNESCO City of Media Arts how much money has been allocated for the bid, from which budget has this been allocated from, what is the money being spent on, who authorised the bid to go ahead and when was this decision taken?

 

Reply:

This is a city partnership bid supported by York@Large.  No money allocation is required.  The bid will be considered by the Cabinet at its April meeting and I will be recommending to Cabinet that this council should endorse the application especially as under this Labour administration, the council has cemented its reputation as a city for innovation, quality and drive within the new technologies and media arts sectors. 

 

(xlv) To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“The Smarter York app provides a very limited set of tools - how much did it cost to develop, how much does it cost to maintain, and how many reports have been made in each of the last 3 years?”

 

Reply:

“Development and maintenance of the app cost £11k per annum for 3 years, with the final payment this year. There is no real maintenance overhead in the ICT teams as this is automated with Lagan.

 

In the 12/13 financial year there were 477 reports; in the 13/14 financial year there were 419. The app went live in the first week of April 2012 so there is obviously no data available for three years.

 

Officers are exploring additional functions around waste and highways that might be included in the app in future.”

 

(xlvi)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“Street lighting is now dealt with in house, could the Cabinet Member publish the performance standards for repairing faulty lights and outline whether these standards are currently being met?”

 

Reply:

“As can be found on the website, normal faults will be attended and either repaired or made safe within 4 working days.

 

Since the service was brought in-house, the response times have been as follows:

 

Oct 13 – 1.2 working days

Nov 13 – 2.6 working days

Dec 13 – 2.3 working days

Jan 14 – 3.3 working days

Feb 14 – 3.3 working days

Mar 14 – currently 1.6 working days”

 

(xlvii)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Aspden:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member outline the projects and incentives in place to increase recycling rates and specify how these projects are being assessed?”

 

Reply:

“I would refer Cllr Aspden to my answer to an almost identical question from Cllr Reid at December Council, as well as my report to Council tonight, both of which answer this question. I would humbly suggest that if he cannot be bothered to read answers to his Group’s questions he does not waste everyone’s time asking them again.”

 

(xlviii)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many residents have signed-up for the additional green bin charge?”

 

Reply:

“As at 24th March 2014, there are approximately 710 households that have subscribed to the additional green bin service.  It is anticipated that this number will increase further in the coming weeks as households are sent information regarding the resumption of the collection service.”

 

(xlix)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member share the growing concern of residents about the volume of dog fouling in York and what steps has he taken to address the problem and what measures are in place to monitor the effectiveness of his policies?”

 

Reply:

“Maintaining a pleasant and clean environment is always a top concern, though Cllr Reid might be interested to know that the number of such cases reported for the last three years show no increase: 216 in 2011, 219 in 2012, and 212 in 2013.

 

We do however continue to prioritise this work, as we recognise the impact that this can have on local communities, and we have initiated early morning patrols from 6.30am in several hotspot areas in response to complaints that have given us details of times and locations, to attempt to catch people.  We also continue to work with Residents Association, schools and Parish Councils to raise awareness and change behaviour, as set out in our new litter and detritus policy, For example, we are due to undertake educational work at some of our Junior Schools, where pupils will design a poster to be put up in hot spot locations, following a similar successful project last year at Westfield Community School.

 

Finally, work is ongoing to establish a joint ASB Hub with North Yorkshire Police, where deploying Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers accredited with specific policing powers alongside police officers will be able to more effectively enforce environmental breaches such as dog fouling across the city.”

 

(l)    To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“In each of the last 5 years how many prosecutions – including FPNs – has the Council initiated for dog fouling?”

 

Reply:

“The figures for the numbers of FPNs have historically always been low because we would need to have either witnessed the incident ourselves, or we would need a statement from a member of the public, who could identify the dog, and where it lived, and they would potentially need to go to court if the person disputed this.  The numbers are:

 

 

FPNs

Prosecutions

2009

1

8

2010

1

6

2011

0

0

2012

1

3

2013

1

0

 

(li) To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Council note and some Members will be concerned, myself included, that all appears to have gone very quiet with developments relating to the Elderly Persons Homes programme. Can Councillor Simpson-Laing please give assurances that the project is still planned to be delivered as detailed in previous Cabinet reports by 2016?”

Reply:

“The procurement exercise for the Elderly Persons Homes reprovision programme continues in line with the schedule reported in the June 2013 Cabinet report. Officers advise that, as we are in the competitive dialogue stage with bidders, they cannot share details of these confidential discussions without compromising the procurement exercise.

An update on the outcome of the exercise will be provided at the appropriate time later in the year.”

(lii)     To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Reid:

 

“The current breakdown of housing waiting list demand is:

 

1 Bed

1347

2 Bed

740

3 Bed

212

4 Bed

32

5 Bed

1

6 Bed

1

 

Given this, why is the Cabinet Member not using some of the £13 million surplus on the housing account to purchase flats on the open market to address the need for more one bedroom properties?”

 

Reply:

“There are a number of issues with purchasing homes on the open market. The first relates to value for money. Traditionally purchase and repair schemes in high value markets are seen as an expensive way of procuring new homes. For this reason this option has been used very sparingly in York.  To put this in context, the total scheme costs per unit for the new council house development at Beckfield Lane is approximately £120k per home. The average house price in York is £191k and the average lower quartile house price is £140k (2011 SHMA). In addition to the purchase price most houses and flats would require investment to ensure they meet decent homes standards, typically involving a re-wire, new boiler, and plastering. This can add £10k to £20k to the cost. Homes purchased on the open market are also likely to be of lower space standards than the new homes built by the council, which are to the high space standards required by the Homes and Communities Agency.

 

A further consideration is that in demonstrating value for money, open market purchases would likely be aimed at lower quartile priced houses. A significant purchase programme would have the potential to overheat the lower end of the housing market. This is usually entry point housing for first time buyers and could actually affect affordability of the lowest priced housing in the city.

 

The procurement route for new Council Housing is under constant review, and open market purchases can play a role as part of our investment strategy. This may be particularly the case in rural areas, where the council’s revised affordable housing planning policies result in commuted sums rather than on- site provision in villages. The lack of land in rural areas and the relatively small sums may prohibit the construction of a new development and necessitate purchase and repair of individual homes for local people.

 

The £13m surplus referred to is the current working balance on the HRA. A minimum of £5m will be maintained as a contingency for the HRA. The remainder will be used towards the repayment of debt when loan repayments become due in line with the profile of loans we took out.”

 

(liii)  To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“In view of the declining appearance of many of the council estates in York, will the Cabinet Member agree, when the next housing strategy report is debated, to consider a substantial increase in the funding available to address issues like parking provision, replacement fencing, and communal area maintenance etc?”

 

Reply:

“City of York Council estates are in some of the best condition of any stock holding Local Authority.

 

During the next financial year we will complete the windows program, the Decent Homes Standards improvements and unlike the previous administration to May 2011, the Council has extended its ‘backfill programme’ to an enhanced standard to that date.

 

Communities have their own estate improvement budgets and where they prioritise parking and communal areas there are numerous examples of schemes undertaken.  There is also the general maintenance budget used to improve/maintain communal areas and this is allocated following estate walkabouts and where Estate Managers feed suggestions in to local estate action plans that are being developed. It also needs to be recognised that over 40% of the council stock has been sold and some of the worst examples of poorly maintained homes are not owned by the Council. Given Councillor Reid’s earlier question re buying property on the open market to alleviate the pressures on the waiting list surely the priority has to be to use the HRA to build new homes.”

 

(liv)   To the Cabinet Member for (redirected to Coun. Merrett) from Cllr Aspden:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member specify how many residents are affected by the ending of the Taxicard scheme and what support/advice is being offered to these residents?”

 

Reply:

“Our records show that 1,536 people are in possession of a Taxicard. All of these people should have received a letter giving them information about the change and letting them know about alternatives including bus passes and information on the Dial & Ride service.

 

The contact centre staff and taxi providers have been fully briefed and information about the changes is available on the Council’s website:

 

http://www.york.gov.uk/info/200224/taxicard/298/taxicard

 

(lv)    To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Can that Cabinet Member guarantee that the housing advice sessions which currently take place at Foxwood and Chapelfields community centres will continue in the long-term?”

 

Reply:

“Council Officers are working through access issues including provision of keys. We are currently running 4 local advice services in the Acomb area with the Lindsey Avenue scheme starting in April. As you are aware the Foxwood and Chapelfields sessions are not well attended but we want to work with the community to promote these services. The long term success of the advice sessions has to be a partnership between the council and the community centre management committee and local residents.”

 

(lvi)   To the Cabinet Member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“A council garage next to Beverley Court was reported for repair in October 2012 having been boarded up for many months. Given the shortage of parking in the area will the Cabinet Member explain when this garage will be repaired for rent, how much rent has been lost, why it has taken so long to be repaired and how many other garages in the city (with their locations) have been reported for repair for over 6 months and how much rent they would have achieved had they been occupied.”

 

Reply:

“The garage door has been replaced and the garage will very soon be available for re-let. The demand for garages outside of the centre is not high and there is no waiting list.”

 

(lvii)To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“In light of her recent report to scrutiny, does the Cabinet Member think that York Schools and Governing Bodies are not challenging enough and are not aspirational for their students, unlike those in London?”

 

Reply:

“I think there is always a risk – especially when the headline figures for York Schools are so good, that we may not recognise how fast the external climate is changing. The national achievement figures – especially in primary schools – have been rising more sharply than York’s figures; and York always has, quite rightly, the ambition to be the best. The London Challenge has been hugely successful in raising the bar for London Schools and we are keen to see York Schools also rise to that Challenge. York Schools and governing bodies have all been given a copy of the LA RAISE report which enables them to better appreciate the city’s achievement as a whole, rather than just that of individual schools. We are using – through the clusters – a York Challenge, and two of our schools are also involved with the Regional Challenge (Burton Green and New Earswick). It is good to report that now 87% of children in York now go to a good or outstanding school, but my ambition is for this to be 100%.”

 

(lviii)To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“When will the ‘York Challenge’ be ready, will plans be consulted on with schools and governing bodies and when are results expected to be available so that its effectiveness can be assessed?”

 

Reply:

“The York Challenge has been launched through the cluster groups this year. We are also using the Moving to Good Programme, and that is also having an impact at cluster level. We will monitor the effectiveness through cluster evaluations. Increasingly the cluster groups are seen as a significant driver for school improvement, working on the Peer challenge model.”

 

(lix)To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“How will the Cabinet Member ensure that the £5m of Pupil Premium funding is being spent wisely and to good effect – including to narrow the gap between those eligible for FSM and those who are not?”

 

Reply:

“Pupil Premium is a very important factor for a number of our schools, as the amount of money coming into schools increases through this route; so I agree with Cllr. Runciman that we need to be clear how it is being used, and to what effect. Narrowing the gap between those on and those not on FSM is a hugely important target for myself, and my cabinet colleagues. So we have a number of ways of improving our focus on this a) the York Challenge Partner visits will focus on how schools are using the pupil premium and this information will be collated and published at the start of the summer terms and copies sent to all schools and chairs of governors. b) the Interim AD (Education and Skills) plans to establish an in-year data sharing protocol with schools to allow monitoring of the in-year progress of the PP cohort to target effective support and challenge c) A pupil premium conference is being planned for Autumn 2014 to share best practice.”

 

(lx)To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“The nine Children’s Centres established under the Liberal Democrat administration have done some excellent work, but does the Cabinet Member understand that their work will be made much more difficult due to the cuts being imposed by Labour that are coming into effect during the next financial year?”

 

Reply:

“I am sure none of us would choose to make significant cuts in our Children’s Centre budgets; but huge external pressures mean that even Children’s Centres can not be immune to the ways in which Councils are having to look at their budgets. Because the significant saving is in the 2015 budget we are taking time now to develop our Early Years Strategy so that we can review the way in which Children’s Centres are working, look at their target population and explore how best we can reach some of that target population that does not find a Children’s Centre on a school site always the best way of engaging with the services we have to offer. York’s Children’s Centres have developed over a number of years and it is a good opportunity to revisit the model to see if it is actually engaging with the population we want to reach. I am happy to involve the Scrutiny Committee in some of our thinking as it develops so that we can have a genuine dialogue as to the best way of proceeding.”

 

(lxi)To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Aspden:

 

“In light of the excellent work being done by Children’s Centres in York will the Cabinet Member confirm that all centres will remain open and under council control if Labour retain power in 2015?”

 

Reply:

“As I have replied to Cllr. Runciman I value the work that our Children’s Centres do, but I do think it is a good opportunity to take this year to review the way they operate; and how successful they are in reaching some of our most disadvantaged families. We certainly want to see high-quality services continue for the benefit of children and families in York.”

 

(lxii)To the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People from Cllr Runciman:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member confirm the current status of the URBIE bus and the plans for this service over the next 12 months?”

 

Reply:

“We still maintain the URBIE buses although it is acknowledged that since Ward funding has been reduced, they are probably being underused. But they are still with us, and there are no plans to take them out of service. As part of our co-production plans for taking Youth Service provision forward they will form part of the “pot” of CYC resources that we can make available to community groups that would not be able to afford such a resource for themselves. We are currently working on practical issues to manage such things as insurance and then we hope local groups will feel able to use them.

 

We are currently exploring a number of items of CYC equipment – such as premises, and experienced youth worker staff – which will help support the wider youth provision that will be undertaken by a side number of community and other local groups across the city.”

 

(lxiii)To the Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member agree with the view of the Equality Advisory Group, as specified in the minutes of the March 5th meeting, that: “EAG meetings need representation from all the political parties to listen to the views raised and to find out what each of the parties are saying about equalities?”

 

Reply:

“EAG is a consultative body that provides invaluable insight for the council in the policy development process. There is no political representation on this group. I attend to receive feedback from the group. 

 

Since its re-launch under this new structure, we have had a number of highly successful meetings consulting on several key policy areas including volunteering and Smarter York, reinvigorate York and highways issues and the York Equalities Scheme.

 

EAG members have also met with CYC directors and this has proven very helpful for all involved. Some EAG members have expressed an interest to meet with representatives from the various political parties to hear their perspectives on equalities issues and I am sure would welcome any invitation that comes forward from the other political parties.”

 

 

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