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:

 

“What were the full costs, including everything from time of officer salaries to pre conference wine and canapes of the recent Fairness Conference and what are the tangible outcomes which the conference led to?”

 

(ii)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Healey:

 

What were the reasons given for the University of York's withdrawal of funding from Science City York?”

 

(iii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Why did the Council Leader not take earlier action to address the overspends being recorded on social care budgets and what is his latest estimate of expenditure against budget for this area for the current financial year?”

 

(iv)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Brooks:

 

“If the Leader of the Council may exercise any function of Cabinet where a decision cannot reasonably wait until the next meeting,  will he explain what was so important about the decision to re-open Lendal Bridge that it could not wait until the Cabinet meeting?”

 

(v)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Aspden:

 

“As the council’s revenue account only came in on budget last year because of Automatic Number Plate Recognition fine income and lower than anticipated debt charges (itself the result of low interest rates coupled with many capital projects having slipped into the current financial year), will the Cabinet Leader agree now to abandon at least some of his profligate “vanity” projects?”

 

(vi)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“Will the leader use this oppurtunity tofinally apologise to York’s residents for the shambles of the Lendal Bridge trial?”

 

(vii)   To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Healey:

 

“What have been the outcomes and jobs created from the additional 2 year funding given to Science City York by this administration?”

 

(viii)  To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Healey:

 

“How many applicants have been considered for the Interim Director position of the new company to be formed to provide 'Marketing and Business Development'?”

 

(ix)    To the Deputy Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“There has been interest from citizens in contributing to the revised council constitution – could the Deputy Leader explain how this can be facilitated in the light of the Leader's commitment to coproduction and engagement?”

 

(x)      To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Barton:

 

“Has the Dutch government's "Container Housing Scheme" been investigated for York and if so what conclusions have been drawn?”

 

(xi)    To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Barton:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member have statistics available showing the success in York of the Government's "Help to Buy" scheme?”

 

(xii)   To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“When will tenants receiving the garden assistance service be notified about how the new contractor will catch-up the backlog of work which has left very neglected gardens all around the west of the city and what steps have the council put in place to ensure that this situation is not repeated?”

 

 

 

 

(xiii)  To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“On the garden assistance scheme why were tenants not informed of the meeting to re-tender the work with yet another decision being made behind-closed-doors?”

 

(xiv)To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Reid:

 

“ What are the net additional dwellings delivered in the council area over the last five years - is this the same as the Communities and Local Government  figures or is it defined differently?”

 

(xv)  To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Reid:

 

“There is apparently a new housing office opening on Lindsay Avenue. Where is the business case that supports this decision?”

 

(xvi)To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Doughty:

 

 “Can the Cabinet Member please give all details, including dates, when any officer or member has had any dialogue, written or otherwise, with any agent, developer, housing association or other interested party regarding the proposed removal of 220 acres of green belt land at Earswick, which as part of the Local Plan further sites consultation, is to be re-categorised as ‘safeguarded’ land for future development?”

 

(xvii)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Using Defra calculations fly tipping removal costs for York have risen year on year, with removal costs for 2011/12 approximately £44,618 and rising to £56,720 for 2013/14.  How does the cabinet member propose to address this continuing overspend?”

 

(xviii)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member confirm that residents will have an opportunity to address members of the Local Plan Working Group before a final draft Local Plan is drawn up?”

 

(xix)To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Given Councils additional funding from Government of £311,000 for road repairs. Will Council replace the many pot holes across the City with infill of a consistent thickness and sealed with a proprietary sealant so as to reduce the number of return visits required by contractors?”

 

(xx)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Aspden:

 

“What steps does the new Cabinet Member propose to reverse the decline in recycling rates?”

 

(xxi)To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Aspden:

 

“The Government has recently announced new incentives for local authorities to build homes on brownfield sites, including an idea to put local development orders on brownfield sites that are suitable for housing. Will the Cabinet Member explore whether these options could help develop brownfield sites in York?”

 

(xxii)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff did the council have working on gulley cleaning in each of the last 4 years, how many vehicles are used for this purpose, and how many and what proportion of gullies were/are routinely cleaned in each year since 2010?”

 

 

 

(xxiii)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many FTE street cleaners were/are employed in each year since 2010?”

 

(xxiv)To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Hyman:

 

“In the light of encouragement for cycling and the need to ensure a safe road surface could the Cabinet Member detail the response time for filling in potholes from being reported to the work being completed?”

 

(xxv)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Firth:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member detail the response time for the removal of graffiti as reported to the council?”

 

(xxvi)To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Whilst recognising that staff are working hard to make the best of the situation they are being let down by the council in keeping the city tidy, in particular the state of grass cutting and strimming. When will the Cabinet Member take a lead on the situation and detail what will be done to make the city presentable?”

 

(xxvii)                To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Following Councils decision to close Haxby Hall and to relocate its residents to other homes across the City the site has a potential of helping reduce the parking congestion in Haxby. Would the Cabinet Member support its transfer to the local community?”

 

(xxviii)              To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Can the Cabinet Member explain why we cannot receive an update on the Council’s Elderly Person’s Homes programme, a project way overdue?

 

(xxix)To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Like myself, the Cabinet Member must be concerned that two Assistant Director’s and at least two other Senior Officer’s within Adult Social Care have either resigned or already departed recently. Has the Cabinet Member sought reasons for this and what will she do to steady the ship, protect services for our city’s most vulnerable and restore morale in the department?”

 

(xxx)  To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“What is the expected timetable for the development of the Lowfields Care Village, when will local residents be updated on the project, when will a planning application be submitted and what are the estimated completion and occupation dates?”

 

(xxxi)To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“On the Lowfields Care Village, would the Cabinet Member confirm that she intends to restrict any development to the “footprint” of the former school and would she indicate what the future of the rest of the site is please?”

 

(xxxii)                To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member confirm the total cost – including the provision of external disabled parking spaces – of the new barrier controlled system at the Marygate Car Park and would he say who made the decision not to include a charge card payment option as part of the new arrangements?”

 

 

(xxxiii)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Aspden:

 

“ Would the Cabinet member confirm the number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued for breaches of the access restrictions on Coppergate since 1st April 2014 and would he confirm that no action is currently being taken to enforce the restrictions?”

 

(xxxiv)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“Who took the decision, and when, to open the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton before work had been completed (the outstanding works on 9th June included car parking space, signage, traffic signals, road junction layout, layout, A1237 junction improvements etc) and when will all work connected with the Park and Ride site and associated road works be completed?”

 

(xxxv)               To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Can the Cabinet Members please advise when work will be completed on the cycle path and the shoulder length grass and weeds on the northern A1237 between Haxby and Wigginton, whether costs will exceed further the already £400,000 over budget cost and what general maintenance will take place in the future as it currently stands as a very sad and expensive Labour ‘legacy’ to the Tour De France?”

 

(xxxvi)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“ What has been the number of vehicles parked on average each day at the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton and how many passengers have been carried by the new buses on each day since 9th June?”

 

(xxxvii)            To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member confirm the numbers who were killed and seriously injured on York’s roads in each of the last 5 years and what target for accident reduction has he set for the current calendar year?”

 

(xxxviii)            To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many residents have so far applied and paid for one of the new “Minster” badges and when, where and by whom was the decision taken not to allow non-residents, who make frequent trips to the City, to purchase a badge if they wished to do so?”

 

(xxxix)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Reid:

 

“At the March Council meeting the Cabinet member confirmed that car parking space availability information had not been accessible through the Council’s website “since the move to West Offices”, but assured Council that “live information from the car parks (would be) available on the web site by May 2014”. Why was this deadline not met and what alternative steps have been taken to provide real time parking information for those travelling to the City for events like the Tour de France?”

 

(xl)        To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“When can we expect the car park space availability information to be available again “on-line” and when does the Cabinet Member anticipate that the street located Variable Message Boards will all be working reliably?”

 

(xli)      To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Runciman:

 

“When will the relevant part of the Council’s website be updated to allow residents to see when road repairs in their area are likely to take place?”

 

(xlii)     To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“How long have the automated car park spaces signs been out of action, why haven't they been working, and when will they be working again?”

 

(xliii)    To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Government funding for the Real Time Information System has been a resounding success for many of the bus users of this City. However given the displacement of the information points are mainly in the City Centre. Can Council confirm when the remainder of routes across the City are to be installed including the replacement of bus shelters?”

 

 

(xliv)   To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Steward:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that it is wrong so many officers have been appointed on what Cllr Warters correctly calls ‘living it up wages’ of over £500 per day without any elected member input?”

 

(xlv)To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Galvin:

 

“Given that the Guildhall complex has been empty for some 12 months what plans are being discussed by officers or Cabinet member for it’s future use?”

 

(xlvi)   To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Galvin:

 

“What have been the overall costs expended on the Guildhall complex in the past 12 months in terms of heating, business rates and any other charges incurred?”

 

(xlvii)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Richardson:

 

“With the introduction of the new Residents Parking Discount Badge at £20 for two years in September. Can Council state what is the expected average savings expected for a resident over that time frame and will residents be given extra discount for paying for there parking by Credit/Debit Card?”

 

(xlviii)                To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Barton:

 

“What measures is the Cabinet Member taking to investigate the cause of what appears to be job dissatisfaction amongst senior officers?”

 

(xlix)   To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Richardson:

 

“Given Councils flagship call centre has had time to find its feet, will Council provide the following information:

 

1.   What is the longest time taken to answer an incoming call?

 

2.   What was the cost of that phone call based on the standard local call rate?”

 

(l)           To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Ayre:

 

“Why is the facility to report potholes, faulty street lights, blocked footpaths etc from the “Do it on line - Report it” section of the council website still not available despite assurances given by the Cabinet Member in March that this would be available by the end of April?”

 

(li)          To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Reid:

 

“Residents are still not being given a reference number for any complaint that they raise and instead are being given a standard response saying: “at present, due to current technical problems, we are unable to provide you with a reference number”. This has been the position for over 12 months now. When can those reporting issues to the Council expect to be given a reference number?”

 

(lii)        To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Ayre:

 

“What is the current gap between the Council’s overall borrowing requirement and the amount that has currently been borrowed and does the Cabinet Member expect that borrowing to take place before or after the local elections?”

 

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

 

“Does the Cabinet Member have an estimate of the expected uptake of free school meals for classes up to Year 2 in September?”

 

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

 

“In view of the shortage of foster parents, does the Cabinet Member agree that the dissemination of what little information that exists to the general public is sadly lacking and needs to be more proactive?”

 

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

 

“Could the Cabinet Member update Council on what is happening with Space 217?”

 

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

 

“Will the Cabinet member make a commitment to retain the same number of Youth Centres as currently exist and detail the activities which will be available to young people operating from them?”

 

(lvii)     To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism from Cllr Barton:

 

“Can the Cabinet Member inform the council what stage has been reached in the discussions between the York Conservation Trust and the York Theatre Royal to take over or purchase the Theatre Royal and the De Grey rooms, and has a value been agreed for the properties?”

 

(lviii)    To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism from Cllr Cuthbertson:

 

“Regarding the “Grand Departy” held at Huntington Stadium on 4th July, how much was spent on this event (broken down by artist fees, charity contributions, equipment hire, stadium costs, traffic management, staffing costs, hospitality etc), how much income was derived (broken down by ticket sales, sponsorship etc), and who took the decision – and when – to add this event to the Tour de France calendar?”

 

(lix)      To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism from Cllr Cuthbertson:

 

“What is the Cabinet Member’s deadline for starting work on the ground at the new Community Stadium at Huntington and what is her current best estimate of its opening date?”

Minutes:

Fifty nine 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:

 

“What were the full costs, including everything from time of officer salaries to pre conference wine and canapes of the recent Fairness Conference and what are the tangible outcomes which the conference led to?”

 

Reply:

“The recommendation to host an International Fairness Conference was a recommendation of York's Independent Fairness Commission.

 

The drinks reception was kindly provided by the University of York. The event was held on Sunday to welcome our overseas guests and no staff overtime was claimed by City of York Council Employees.

 

The overall cost of the International Fairness Conference itself was £18,635.58. £8,635.58 was provided by City of York Council and £10,000 was donated by JRF. Some elements of the conference were provided free of charge, including the venue hire cost, by the University of York.

 

We are sharing policies and other evidence-based ways of tackling poverty with cities nationally. Much of this is to do with influencing government policy. The event and contacts made through the event will help inform the future development of the Financial Inclusion and poverty strategies.

 

We also used the session to share and discuss the experience of poverty and fairness in York. I was pleased that there was an excellent session led by the pupils of York High School and other York residents. Over the next few weeks, we will be working with the JRF and the York residents that ran the community session at the conference to run sessions in York to help us better understand how to address financial hardship in the city.”

 

 

(ii)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Healey:

 

What were the reasons given for the University of York's withdrawal of funding from Science City York?”

 

Reply:

“As a result of a strategic review of priorities for the institution the University of York has determined that it wishes to strengthen its work between university departments and business directly. The University will continue to partner and to co-invest in Biovale, an innovation cluster in biorenewables technologies, with City of York Council, continue to own York Science Park with the Council and has also expressed a willingness to engage with the new company being established to consolidate wider business support activity in the city.

 

The council's representative on the board of Science City was briefed during the change in policy as was the Chair of Economic and City Development Scrutiny Committee.”

 

(iii)     To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Why did the Council Leader not take earlier action to address the overspends being recorded on social care budgets and what is his latest estimate of expenditure against budget for this area for the current financial year?”

 

Reply:

“I have been raising issues about expenditure in this area since December 2009 when I was Chair of the council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. I invited the Executive Member at the time to the committee to discuss the issue but he refused to attend on two occasions.

 

The council has received a 45% reduction in Government funding over the course of this parliament and this has clearly played a role in adding to financial pressures just as demographic changes have. You will recall from when you were elected as a Labour councillor that you used to stand up against such reductions in funding and support Labour's position of modest increases in council tax to place funding into health and social care. However you have chosen to support a Liberal Democrat policy of defending these Tory cuts and to oppose modest council tax increases for this long term expenditure.

 

The pooling of health service funding with social care is recognised as essential by all parties, and this has not been helped by the low amount York receives in health funding from the Government you now support, nor from the reorganisation of the NHS you also now defend.

 

Significant progress has been made over the last six months by officers and both Cabinet Members; putting in place better financial controls that have been long overdue. I expect further progress to be made, rather than refusing to engage on the issue, as the former Liberal Democrat Executive Member did before your party lost control.

 

There has been well recorded pressure on adult social care budgets locally and nationally for the last 4-5 years due mainly to demographic changes and rising costs in the care sector. In the last five years, demographic change alone has increased demand nationally by an average of 14%. As a result, the budget has consistently overspent - by £1.453M in 2010/11, by £1.660M in 2011/12, by £2.083M in 2012/13 but by an improved £1.766M in 2013/14. These significant pressures have been recognised and, despite average adult social care budgets falling nationally by 12% over the last three years, we have provided £2.5m of extra growth funding in York in 2013-14 and a further £2.5m in 2014-15 as well as an additional one off £957k in 2013-14. I expect the progress made last year in reducing the overall overspend to continue this year.

 

The next 2-3 years will be an even greater period of challenge for Adult Social Care than the last 2-3 have been, both nationally and locally, as a direct result of the Conservative-led government’s imposed austerity and legislative change.

 

The Care Act recently completed its passage through Parliament and is the biggest overhaul of social care statute for over 60 years. It creates a new duty for local authorities to promote and protect the well-being of local people and their carers with a duty to consider their physical, mental and emotional well-being and to provide preventative services to maintain people’s health. 

 

The Care Act provides the legislative platform that, coupled with the requirement for greater Health and Social Care integration through the Better Care Fund, will drive huge transformational change in Adult Social Care. This transformational change will mean existing patterns of expenditure will need to be quite significantly amended to place greater emphasis on prevention and early intervention thereby enabling a balanced budget to be created.”

 

(iv)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Brooks:

 

“If the Leader of the Council may exercise any function of Cabinet where a decision cannot reasonably wait until the next meeting,  will he explain what was so important about the decision to re-open Lendal Bridge that it could not wait until the Cabinet meeting?”

 

Reply:

“The published decision of the traffic adjudicator created confusion for residents and clarity was required quickly. This was a position supported by the Conservative Chair of Scrutiny Management Committee and I thank him for his help in dealing with this matter so swiftly.”

 

(v)      To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Aspden:

 

“As the council’s revenue account only came in on budget last year because of Automatic Number Plate Recognition fine income and lower than anticipated debt charges (itself the result of low interest rates coupled with many capital projects having slipped into the current financial year), will the Cabinet Leader agree now to abandon at least some of his profligate “vanity” projects?”

 

Reply:

“I find this question fascinating. I assume through the question you are arguing against the expenditure included in the Economic Infrastructure Fund Labour set up to boost York's local economy and number of job opportunities.

 

Part of the same Fund in fact that you sought to re-badge as Future York Fund in your last council budget amendment and attempted to pass off as something original. Demonstrating once again, in a consistent way it has to be said, that Lib Dem trait of adopting conflicting positions on the same issue depending on which day of the week it is.

 

I would like to remind Council the Fund is financed through New Homes Bonus (NHB) and prudential borrowing at historically low interest rates. The NHB element is trumpeted by Liberal Democrats nationally as supporting York's economy, but locally is opposed. Further evidence of consistent inconsistency from the Lib Dems.

 

The following list of events funded from the EIF has or will result in a positive economic impact:

 

1. New Park and Rides, supported by all parties

2. Investment in Newgate market, supported by Conservatives but not Liberal Democrats

3. A commitment to a new bridge to unlock York Central, supported by Conservatives but not Liberal Democrats

4. Investment in the high street, not supported by Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.

5. Tour de France – talked down by the Liberal Democrats

 

The amount being spent on council debt per year has increased by £300k a year since the budgets set by Liberal Democrats and Conservative councillors, yet we are delivering a huge amount more than they ever did.”

 

(vi)    To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Steward:

 

“Will the leader use this oppurtunity tofinally apologise to York’s residents for the shambles of the Lendal Bridge trial?”

 

Reply:

“Councillor Steward may think I am naive in the art and science of politics and this question clearly shows such qualities.

 

What is important is we now build the consensus over the issue of congestion, cross-party, on what action is required in this city to cope with the problem of congestion. Opposition parties may wish to beat their chests over the issue, but it is an issue that is not going to go away without some action. We have received no suggestions on how to tackle congestion from the opposition over the course of this council.”

(vii)   To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Healey:

 

“What have been the outcomes and jobs created from the additional 2 year funding given to Science City York by this administration?”

 

Reply:

“The 2 year funding given to SCY is from EIF for high growth business support and the 3 year Innovate York programme.  As the EIF programme has only just finished and the Innovate York programme is still ongoing, the outcomes are still being measured, but early outputs and outcomes are as follows:

 

High Growth Business Support Programme

 

The high growth business support programme has provided over 30 high growth businesses with business support, totalling over 96 mentoring days worth of support.  GVA and job outputs are being calculated following engagement with businesses assisted.

 

Innovate York Programme

 

Positioning York as a Major Global Innovation Player

 

·        LLGA Global Awards and Pilots: Received Global Awards for proposals to pilot in Cape Town (2012) and Glasgow (2014) (£22k est. funding received)

 

·        Lead city in URBACT EU pilot transfer programme sharing our GeniUS! York approach with Syracuse in Sicily, San Sebastian in Spain and Tallinn in Estonia.  (EU 325k funding received)

 

·        In top 21 most innovative cities in Europe through finalist status in Bloomberg ‘Mayor’s Challenge’ competition, with the intent to be in the winning top 5 most innovative cities by end September 2014. (est. funding if we win EU 1-5m)

 

·        In talks with Citymart global innovation network around 2-3 year partnership with York to fast track alternative procurement solutions through their global innovation network of solution providers.

 

Embedding Innovation as a Key Driver in the City of York

 

·        We have comprehensively mapped existing innovative businesses, initiatives and activities in York, and provide an accessible source of ‘innovation intelligence’ to the city through our web site.  We have further enhanced this knowledge hub through contributing regular blogs, research, communications and innovation opportunities. (120 contributors to the innovation map)

 

·        Created a draft ‘Roadmap for innovation’ paper which will assist CYC in developing their strategy for future innovation in the city

 

·        We are continuing to develop an ‘innovation ecosystem’ through the ‘GeniUS! York’ platform, linking CYC with Businesses, the Community and Residents in a more meaningful way. To manage and deepen relationships between these groups and CYC, with a focus around ‘open innovation’.  To date we have 434 registered members on the GeniUS! platform and 1145 twitter members.  99 individuals have been involved in taking the pilot ideas forward from the previous 8 challenge areas.

 

Delivering a City-wide Innovation programme of events and workshops to Catalyse Development

 

·        We have had over 1600 people attending the 43 events and workshops we have delivered over the last 22 months.  Feedback has consistently been over 80% good/excellent for all events.

 

·        Included in the workshops we have delivered, is a programme of Workforce Development to increase ‘intrapreneurship’ skills in the organisation.  These took the form of lunchtime taster sessions over a five week period, and places were oversubscribed within a few days of becoming available and feedback from staff was excellent.  We are now running the same course for a second time in CYC.

 

·        Through partnership working with the University of York and the Institute of Leadership and Management, we will be offering intensive three day Innovation Leadership workshops for 25 more senior members of CYC staff to further embed innovation capacity within the organisation.  This course is endorsed by ILM and can lead to further accreditation.

 

Comprehensive Provision of Support Activities to Drive Innovation

 

·        We have worked with 190 members of CYC staff over 33 service areas to build innovation capacity within the council. 

 

·        Over the last 22 months we have assisted 8 organisations to draw down funding from external sources e.g. TSB, Art Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation etc to enable their projects.  This amounted to £167,000 additional funding.

 

·        We are working with TSB SBRI, to develop a Yorkshire-wide match funded initiative with the Technology Strategy Board to run pre-procurement competitions, to identify cutting edge solutions to challenges facing the region, and to implement them quickly in the city through pilot and scale approach.  This system is similar to GeniUS! except that TSB SBRI looks for existing solutions rather than co-designing a new solution.  This has great potential to support our SMEs as well as to fast track innovative solutions in the region.

 

So as you can see the investment already has or has the potential to leverage significant extra funding to develop innovation both inside and outside the council.”

 

(viii)  To the Cabinet Leader from Cllr Healey:

 

“How many applicants have been considered for the Interim Director position of the new company to be formed to provide 'Marketing and Business Development'?”

 

Reply:

“The post of Director for the new company (interim or permanent) has not yet been advertised.  In the short time since Cabinet agreed the next steps, work has begun in a job description and recruitment process but no decisions have yet been made.”

 

(ix)    To the Deputy Leader from Cllr Ayre:

 

“There has been interest from citizens in contributing to the revised council constitution – could the Deputy Leader explain how this can be facilitated in the light of the Leader's commitment to coproduction and engagement?”

 

Reply:

“The Council’s services, due to drastic cuts in funding from the Conservative Liberal Democrat Government, are as Cllr. Ayre’s knows having to under go dramatic change. The loss of around £80m in government funding  will result in many services being delivered differently, if at all, in the future and so to ensure provision the Council will undertake engagement and work with partners and residents in coproduction. I am glad that Cllr Ayre now supports this process after his opposition to the services that have already become social enterprises.

 

        With regard to the Constitution Cllr. Ayre is, of course, a member of the Audit and Governance Committee. That Committee has the responsibility of bringing forward proposals for amendments to the Constitution. We have such a proposal on the agenda tonight and we did at the last ordinary Council meeting. No doubt Cllr. Ayre has ensured that, if appropriate, the public have been able to make any contributions to the recommendations brought to Council. I am aware that the Audit and Governance Committee held a public engagement event in May at which members of the public were invited to express views as to how the Council operates. There is also a current Scrutiny review which has amongst its objectives:

 

·        Examine national best practice by other Local Authorities currently achieving excellence level in their democratic traditions.

·        Identify optimum methods for raising awareness of the democratic process amongst York’s Communities of Identity.

 

I look forward to seeing recommendations from the Group in due course – including any which suggest constitutional change- and I am sure that the Chair of the Task Group would be very happy to receive contributions from interested members of the public.

 

Of course it does have to be remembered that the Constitution has to reflect complex statutory provisions including those in the Local Government Acts of 1972 and 2000, the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the Localism Act 2011 as well as a myriad of other Acts, Statutory Instruments statutory guidance and case law.

 

 The Council has an expert legal team that undertake this work and they also work in partnership with colleagues in the region to ensure that our Constitution is legally compliant. Members of the public can send in suggestions to the legal team and these will be considered by them, but due to ‘process’ changes that can be made are limited.”

 

(x)      To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Barton:

 

“Has the Dutch government's "Container Housing Scheme" been investigated for York and if so what conclusions have been drawn?”

 

Reply:

“I can inform Cllr Barton that I first instructed Officers to look at alternative build methods over two years ago. The council are currently considering a number of modular and prefabricated build options, including the Y:Cube and Portakabin methods. The investigations to date have been encouraging in terms of quality, construction time and quality, but the council will need to be satisfied that this represents the best value option for new housing before progressing.”

 

(xi)    To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Barton:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member have statistics available showing the success in York of the Government's "Help to Buy" scheme?”

 

Reply:

“No the scheme has not been a success as many people are realising that the scheme is not for them. The York number is 94

I would point out to Cllr Barton that the Public Accounts Committee have said the portfolio of Help to Buy mortgage loans will create a "heavy administrative burden” and a “medium and long-term risk to the taxpayer" The Committee have also questioned whether it represented value for money for the taxpayer.

 

There is also concern that the scheme has fuelled price increases and worry in the markets that many people will not be able to pay the loan aspect of the scheme back after 5 years.”

 

(xii)   To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“When will tenants receiving the garden assistance service be notified about how the new contractor will catch-up the backlog of work which has left very neglected gardens all around the west of the city and what steps have the council put in place to ensure that this situation is not repeated?”

 

Reply:

“Cllr Jeffries should already be aware that letters have already been sent to all customers.  The first letter advised residents of the appointment of Oakdale and the second that there may a delay due to the new contractor taking over the contract and catching up on work that needed to be done.  A further letter will be sent next week, once we have received the weekly update from Oakdale as to where they are on the list of addresses.

 

In order to work through the backlog Oakdale are completing the grass and hedge cut simultaneously.  They have also engaged more staff to assist with the rectification works.  Oakdale have put together a managed route map.  They are monitoring the gardens that were cut first and will divert further resources to them for grass cut 2 to ensure the situation does not arise again.  The contract also has been awarded for 2 years with the option of a further 2.”

 

(xiii)  To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“On the garden assistance scheme why were tenants not informed of the meeting to re-tender the work with yet another decision being made behind-closed-doors?”

 

Reply:

 

“The decision taken was not ‘behind closed doors’ – to suggest so is a factual inaccuracy- and Cllr Jefferies should know, if she had read our own Constitution Part 3D – Officers Delegation Scheme (version 4) and  Section 13 Local Government Act 2000: The Local Authorities (Functions & Responsibilities) (England) Regulations that the decision has been discharged in accordance with arrangements made under Section 9E of the Local Government Act 2000.

 

Our Constitution sets out the aforementioned arrangements. This policy, which adheres to legislation, has not been altered from when used by the Liberal Democrat controlling administration.

 

The decision to re-tender was then made as part of the day to day business of the Council and the awarding of the contract was logged and published on the Council’s website as an Officer decision made under the scheme of delegations set out in Part 3 of the Constitution.

 

The Constitution allows Officers to award contracts which are not “key decisions”. The financial threshold for key decisions and the power for Officers to award these contracts were contained in the Constitution which the Labour administration inherited from Cllr. Jeffries’ party. It was a sensible provision then and it is a sensible provision now.

 

It is not, nor has it ever been, standard practice to involve customers in the re-tender process.  However, the feedback that they provided for last years scheme was that the quality of the cuts was poor.  As a result the contract now has more robust performance monitoring elements, which include a break clause in the contract, should CYC receive a certain number of complaints.

 

I am then content that the contract was award by the correct legal process. I am concerned that Cllr Jeffries, and the Liberal Democrats seem to want every operational decision made in to a long process that will cost York’s residents money. Cllr Jeffries should note then that Council is undertaking its legal requirements, and that her question is at the very least miss-leading.” 

 

(xiv)To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Reid:

 

“What are the net additional dwellings delivered in the council area over the last five years - is this the same as the Communities and Local Government figures or is it defined differently?”

 

Reply:

“Cllr Reid is aware that she can ask Council Officers at any time the ‘net additional dwellings delivered in the council area over the last five years’ and whether it ‘ is this the same as the Communities and Local Government  figures or is it defined differently?

 

For her convenience I am supplying her with the figures over the last 10 years although I know she already has much of this.

 

The housing completions contained within City of York Council documents do differ to those presented by DCLG as they provide a full assessment of all housing permissions through to completion – this is a normal practice of Local Authorities. Housing figures are updated at least monthly through Building Control updates and include NHBC housing completion details, regular contact with developers, up to four site visits per year and contact with internal departments including Housing, Electoral Services and Council Tax.

 

Figures on the DCLG web-site will differ from our data as a result of delays in DCLG receiving paperwork from the private sector Building Control Services and the potential inaccuracies involved in monitoring this information.

 

I and Officers are of the opinion is that figures above provide below are a more accurate assessment of housing completions due to the methods of monitoring implemented and form a reliable source of evidence of past housing supply.”

 

 

 

(i)        To the Cabinet Member for Homes and Safer Communities from Cllr Reid:

 

“There is apparently a new housing office opening on Lindsay Avenue. Where is the business case that supports this decision?”

 

Reply:

“It is a shame that Cllr Reid has not read the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan as this contained the agreed approach to engaging with communities. The plan placed emphasis on creating local touchdown bases for Council Staff and our partners to hold advice sessions in hubs in communities lacking appropriate facilities or facilities that lend themselves to becoming a hub where services can operate. This is about localising the service.

 

I would refer Cllr Reid to:

 

http://www.york.gov.uk/info/200485/housing_plans_and_strategies/417/housing_plans_and_strategies page 19

 

The shop in Lindsey Avenue was a vacant premise that had been difficult to let. The previous use was as a takeaway and as there is already another takeaway within the precinct the ability to re let the shop as a takeaway or any other commercial concern was consider extremely limited.

 

Work was required on the premises to remove asbestos and to ensure that the building meets all statutory requirements including disabled access. This has been paid for from within an existing budget.”

 

(ii)      To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Doughty:

 

 “Can the Cabinet Member please give all details, including dates, when any officer or member has had any dialogue, written or otherwise, with any agent, developer, housing association or other interested party regarding the proposed removal of 220 acres of green belt land at Earswick, which as part of the Local Plan further sites consultation, is to be re-categorised as ‘safeguarded’ land for future development?”

 

Reply:

“I’m not in a position to confirm absolutely all these details at such limited notice. What I can say is that from both a planning and housing perspective there have been officer meetings with the site promoter of this site both before and following its submission during and after the June to July 2013 Local Plan Preferred Options consultation. Planning officers discussed and outlined concerns relating to the issues detailed in the Local Plan Further Sites Consultation document and technical appendix. They also met with them again during the latest consultation to explore these issues.

 

From the housing side, the Council has been aware of emerging proposals for this site since October 2012.  Advice was sought by a property agent working on behalf of a single landowner regarding affordable housing policies.  Officers were contacted by and met with Fabrick Housing Group in July 2013 where the broad ambitions of the current proposed development were presented. Following submission of the site under the ‘call for sites’ the Development Director of Fabrick Housing Group attended a meeting of the Get York Building Board in December 2013 to outline the vision for the development including 50% affordable housing and construction training opportunities. The council were also asked if they would be interested in investing in the development.  Officer views are that if the site is allocated in the Local Plan the potential for housing investment could be considered depending on the business case presented.  Also in December the site sponsor met with the Homes and Communities Agency and with the representatives of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership. Officers from the council were present at these meetings which explored whether there might be LEP or HCA funding available towards infrastructure costs were the development to proceed.”

 

(iii)     To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Using Defra calculations fly tipping removal costs for York have risen year on year, with removal costs for 2011/12 approximately £44,618 and rising to £56,720 for 2013/14.  How does the cabinet member propose to address this continuing overspend?”

 

Reply:

“The removal costs derived from Defra calculations do not accurately reflect the actual cost of removal/collections in York. It is not possible to accurately calculate this as many fly tips are removed as part of a number of scheduled tasks carried out in a day and disposed of amongst other daily collected rubbish, they are used by Defra as a bench marking tool.”  

 

(iv)    To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member confirm that residents will have an opportunity to address members of the Local Plan Working Group before a final draft Local Plan is drawn up?”

 

Reply:

“Following the current consultation on Local Plan Further Sites which ends on 16th July the Council will be producing the final (Publication) draft Local Plan. This Publication draft will be taken to the Local Plan Working Group and Cabinet prior to the commencement of public consultation which it is anticipated will take place later this year prior to Submission to the Planning Inspectorate with the usual public.”

 

 

 

(v)      To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Given Councils additional funding from Government of £311,000 for road repairs. Will Council replace the many pot holes across the City with infill of a consistent thickness and sealed with a proprietary sealant so as to reduce the number of return visits required by contractors?”

 

Reply:

“If you’d directed the question to the correct Cabinet member he would probably say, carriageway repairs will be undertaken using a permanent method as per our patching programme, repair method will be to excavate damaged area using a planing attachment / clean area / edge seal the area and fill with hot material.”

 

(vi)    To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Aspden:

 

“What steps does the new Cabinet Member propose to reverse the decline in recycling rates?”

 

Reply:

“Waste services has recently undertaken a trial in the Clifton area to identify ways to encourage more recycling and to assess the feasibility and affordability of a wider city roll out.  The trial included a campaign against junk mail and incentives were used to increase public participation.   After three months there was a 6% rise in participation and a 6% rise in recyclate collected, despite paper level dropping by 1% (an outcome of the success of the junk mail campaign).

 

The service is also trialling the collection of mixed plastics in the Upper Poppleton area.  Again, this trial is aimed at assessing any impact on our service capacity and how such collections might improve our recycling rate.  The trial is still ongoing but early signs are encouraging with over 100 residents asking for more boxes to allow them to recycle more plastics.

 

We will continue to explore the potential for recycling kitchen waste.”

 

(vii)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Aspden:

 

“The Government has recently announced new incentives for local authorities to build homes on brownfield sites, including an idea to put local development orders on brownfield sites that are suitable for housing. Will the Cabinet Member explore whether these options could help develop brownfield sites in York?”

 

Reply:

“Yes, when guidance or policy is published following the Chancellor’s announcement we will consider whether this type of Local Development Order would be an appropriate approach for any of York’s brownfield sites. 

 

York’s Local Plan as a whole seeks to deliver sustainable patterns and forms of development and a key element of this is to maximise the development potential of existing brownfield sites.  It is critical when planning for the future of the city that the Plan seeks to deliver for all development needs identified.  In this way it can best meet the city’s economic and social ambitions and fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which states that ‘local planning authorities should seek opportunities to achieve each of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, and net gains across all three’ (paragraph 152).  An important part of the Plan’s vision is to ensure sustainable growth patterns and it is therefore considered important that economic and housing growth is linked.

 

In taking sites forward we will consider all available policy approaches and appropriate funding streams available at the time. It should be noted that once allocated through the Local Plan, the principle of development (for housing or other types of development) would be established on all sites, including brownfield sites such as York Central, therefore providing a similar planning basis as would be achieved through a Local Development Order.”

 

(viii)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff did the council have working on gulley cleaning in each of the last 4 years, how many vehicles are used for this purpose, and how many and what proportion of gullies were/are routinely cleaned in each year since 2010?”

 

Reply:

·        “2010-2011, 4 no  FTE, approx  38000 scheduled gully cleans

·        2011-2012, 4 no  FTE, approx  39000 scheduled gully cleans

·        2012-2013, 4 no FTE, approx  20664 scheduled gully cleans

·        2013 -2014, 2 no FTE on 8 + 8 hour shift system rotation, approx 20664 scheduled gully cleans”

 

(ix)    To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many FTE street cleaners were/are employed in each year since 2010?”

 

Reply:

“I am advised it is difficult to produce comparator figures due to changes in working practices - in order to increase efficiencies and the flexibility of our service a role of general operative has been introduced whereby some staff carry out a combination of grounds maintenance and street cleansing operations depending on seasonal workloads.”

 

(x)      To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Hyman:

 

“In the light of encouragement for cycling and the need to ensure a safe road surface could the Cabinet Member detail the response time for filling in potholes from being reported to the work being completed?”

 

Reply:

“If you’d directed this to the correct Cabinet Member, he’d probably say, the aim of the team is to rectify noticed defects within 20 days which are reported within the adopted highway network.”

 

(xi)    To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Firth:

 

“Could the Cabinet Member detail the response time for the removal of graffiti as reported to the council?”

 

Reply:

“We aim to remove graffiti from relevant land within 1 working day if the graffiti is offensive, and within 4 working days if non offensive. (Relevant land is land that the local authority is responsible for and excludes private property).”

 

(xii)   To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“Whilst recognising that staff are working hard to make the best of the situation they are being let down by the council in keeping the city tidy, in particular the state of grass cutting and strimming. When will the Cabinet Member take a lead on the situation and detail what will be done to make the city presentable?”

 

Reply:

“The issues with grass cutting and strimming are mainly due to the excessively wet and warm weather we saw in May and June, which in many areas led to delayed grass cutting, increased rate of growth and hence poor standards of cut, however following the recent two or three weeks mostly dry period, standards of cut are getting back to normal.

 

As part of the councils work with The Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company Limited’s (formerly The York & North Yorkshire Probation Trust) Community Payback team, we identify tasks for offenders to undertake as reparation for their offences, one of the ongoing tasks is undertaking the strimming of obstacles in grass areas across the city, which has taken some of the pressure of our front line staff as well as benefitting residents across the city at no cost to the authority.

 

We are as part of our annual fleet replacement programme constantly looking at new types of equipment that may cope better with the differing grass conditions.

We are as part of our annual fleet replacement programme constantly looking at new types of equipment that may cope better with the differing grass conditions.”

 

(xiii)  To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Following Councils decision to close Haxby Hall and to relocate its residents to other homes across the City the site has a potential of helping reduce the parking congestion in Haxby. Would the Cabinet Member support its transfer to the local community?”

 

Reply:

“You will need to put the question of any transfer to the correct cabinet member, my colleague Councillor Dafydd Williams.”

 

(xiv)    To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Doughty:

“Can the Cabinet Member explain why we cannot receive an update on the Council’s Elderly Person’s Homes programme, a project way overdue?

Reply:

“I am always happy to provide an update for Cllr Doughty on any aspect within my portfolio. As he is aware, the re-provision of Elderly Person's Homes was subject to a tender process.  We are currently in the Competitive Dialogue Phase and, as with any procurement process, the negotiations are confidential.”

 

(xv)      To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Like myself, the Cabinet Member must be concerned that two Assistant Director’s and at least two other Senior Officer’s within Adult Social Care have either resigned or already departed recently. Has the Cabinet Member sought reasons for this and what will she do to steady the ship, protect services for our city’s most vulnerable and restore morale in the department?”

 

Reply:

“It is inevitable that staff will leave us and new staff will join – the average turnover rate for all CYC staff is 14.47% and for Adult Social Care is 16.57%. The two Assistant Directors have both been with CYC for over 7 years and it is coincidental that they have left at around the same time to take up new opportunities elsewhere. Two new Assistant Directors have already been appointed who had a two handover with the departing ADs to ensure good business continuity. Protecting and supporting vulnerable residents is and will always be my number one priority.” 

 

(xvi)    To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“What is the expected timetable for the development of the Lowfields Care Village, when will local residents be updated on the project, when will a planning application be submitted and what are the estimated completion and occupation dates?”

 

Reply:

“The re-provision of the EPH was subject to a tender process.  We are currently in the Competitive Dialogue Phase and, as with any procurement process, the negotiations are confidential. A finalised timetable for planning, construction and occupation cannot be given until negotiations are complete.”

 

(xvii)   To the Cabinet Member for Health and Community Engagement from Cllr Jeffries:

 

“On the Lowfields Care Village, would the Cabinet Member confirm that she intends to restrict any development to the “footprint” of the former school and would she indicate what the future of the rest of the site is please?”

 

Reply:

“The Lowfields site is 13.71 acres of which the proposed care home and care village will cover 6.95 acres.  The remaining 6.76 acres is not part of the proposed scheme and there are currently no plans for that part of the land.”

 

(xviii)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member confirm the total cost – including the provision of external disabled parking spaces – of the new barrier controlled system at the Marygate Car Park and would he say who made the decision not to include a charge card payment option as part of the new arrangements?”

 

Reply:

 

 

“The total cost of the Marygate car park scheme, long a key ask from city centre businesses, is approximately £100k. As has already been explained, there is an ongoing national issue which has affected the installation of chip and pin devices and this facility will be installed at the earliest opportunity, which the current national timetable for roll out would suggest will be available in early autumn.”

 

(xix)    To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Aspden:

 

“Would the Cabinet member confirm the number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued for breaches of the access restrictions on Coppergate since 1st April 2014 and would he confirm that no action is currently being taken to enforce the restrictions?”

 

Reply:

“No Penalty Charge Notices have been issued since 1st April 2014 and no enforcement action is currently occurring, due to the uncertainty created by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal's decision and the ongoing review of that decision.”

 

(xx)      To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“Who took the decision, and when, to open the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton before work had been completed (the outstanding works on 9th June included car parking space, signage, traffic signals, road junction layout, layout, A1237 junction improvements etc) and when will all work connected with the Park and Ride site and associated road works be completed?”

 

Reply:

“The opening of the Park & Ride site at Poppleton Bar was taken by officers to make the facility available at the earliest opportunity that it was safe to do so, in order to maximise the benefit of the facility to the public and the city.  The contractors are scheduled to leave site by the end of the month.

 

I would like to briefly thank Poppleton residents for bearing with the disruption while the works were undertaken.”

 

(xxi)    To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Doughty:

 

“Can the Cabinet Members please advise when work will be completed on the cycle path and the shoulder length grass and weeds on the northern A1237 between Haxby and Wigginton, whether costs will exceed further the already £400,000 over budget cost and what general maintenance will take place in the future as it currently stands as a very sad and expensive Labour ‘legacy’ to the Tour De France?”

Reply:

“The installation of the new bridge is the key activity, and following a tender process the Council will shortly award the contract for this. If all goes to plan, the bridge should be installed by the end of the year, but this is dependent on weather and limited to a few available dates available to us when the railway line can be closed to facilitate the lifting of the bridge onto its foundations. The construction of the embankment paths at either end of the bridge and the toucan crossing on Haxby Road will follow the bridge installation, and will probably take place in early 2015.

 

It is not expected that the scheme cost will exceed the current budget. Once the scheme is complete the area in question will be included in the council’s routine grass cutting and other highway maintenance programmes.”

 

(xxii)   To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“What has been the number of vehicles parked on average each day at the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton and how many passengers have been carried by the new buses on each day since 9th June?”

 

Reply:

“From opening, the number of cars parked at the new Poppleton Park & Ride site is between 70 – 100. On a Saturday this increases to 200. Once the permanent signage and landscaping is completed, the site will be considerably more visible to the public and increased use is anticipated.

 

The number of passengers carried on route 59 from 8th June to 1st July is 9148. This is in line with other Park & Ride services. The route 7 service to the Designer Outlet Park & Ride carried 9606 passengers in its first month. On comparable Park & Ride services, passenger numbers after the first month averaged about 40% of passenger numbers after a year.”

 

(xxiii)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member confirm the numbers who were killed and seriously injured on York’s roads in each of the last 5 years and what target for accident reduction has he set for the current calendar year?”

 

Reply:

“The KSI figures are as follows:

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

KSI

60

62

63

51

58

 

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government scrapped nationally-set casualty reduction targets in 2010/11 and the Council have never had a locally-set target. Our local policy is to monitor them year on year and strive to keep them as low as possible by working locally and regionally with other road safety groups to maximise our budgets and campaigns.”

 

(xxiv) To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“How many residents have so far applied and paid for one of the new “Minster” badges and when, where and by whom was the decision taken not to allow non-residents, who make frequent trips to the City, to purchase a badge if they wished to do so?”

 

Reply:

“From the 1st July to the 9th July almost 1000 Minster Badges have been purchased by residents.

 

Minster Badges have only ever been available exclusively to residents and the decision to introduce a charge for the Minster Badge did not alter this. Either we have a resident discount or we do not – if we do, it needs to be properly enforceable, if we do not and the Liberal Democrats are simply calling for an across-the-board cut in parking charges, they should explain a) how they will pay for this in the face of massive cuts from their Party in Government, and b) how they will deal with the resulting increase in congestion.”

 

(xxv)  To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“At the March Council meeting the Cabinet member confirmed that car parking space availability information had not been accessible through the Council’s website “since the move to West Offices”, but assured Council that “live information from the car parks (would be) available on the web site by May 2014”. Why was this deadline not met and what alternative steps have been taken to provide real time parking information for those travelling to the City for events like the Tour de France?”

 

Reply:

“Live car park availability information can be found on the Council's YorkLive website for many car parks with more to be added in the near future. We also employ a range of channels to communicate event information, including extensive use of social media, and this was the case with the Tour de France.”

 

(xxvi)To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“When can we expect the car park space availability information to be available again “on-line” and when does the Cabinet Member anticipate that the street located Variable Message Boards will all be working reliably?”

 

Reply:

“In terms of the online facility, would refer Cllr Reid to my previous answer.

 

For the street-based facility, much of this technology is obsolete, and finding compatible components to replace and upgrade the technology has proved a challenge. This work has been scoped and agreements are in place to ensure that this is done expeditiously.”

 

(xxvii)                To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Runciman:

 

“When will the relevant part of the Council’s website be updated to allow residents to see when road repairs in their area are likely to take place?”

Reply:

“Perhaps Cllr Runciman needs to look at the website more closely, as this information is already available at http://www.york.gov.uk/info/200328/temporary_restrictions/1023/temporary_traffic_restrictions

 

(xxviii)              To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Reid:

 

“How long have the automated car park spaces signs been out of action, why haven't they been working, and when will they be working again?”

 

Reply:

“The ageing technology - not addressed by the previous administration but being addressed by this administration as set out in my previous answer as part of a rolling plan of refurbishment and investment in our parking facilities - is indeed coming to the end our its useful life, with some units being out of action for around 12months while others are far more recent.”

 

(xxix)To the Cabinet Member for Transport from Cllr Richardson:

 

“Government funding for the Real Time Information System has been a resounding success for many of the bus users of this City. However given the displacement of the information points are mainly in the City Centre. Can Council confirm when the remainder of routes across the City are to be installed including the replacement of bus shelters?”

 

Reply:

“There is an ongoing Better Bus Area Fund programme of works (funded by national government, local government, and private operators) for bus stops outside the city centre that have been identified for improvement. The BBAF works will be completed by spring 2015, but budget permitting, we would of course plan to continue to improve bus stops across the city beyond this point.”

 

(xxx)  To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Steward:

 

“Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that it is wrong so many officers have been appointed on what Cllr Warters correctly calls ‘living it up wages’ of over £500 per day without any elected member input?”

 

Reply:

“Other than trying to score points I am really not sure what the purpose of this question is as clearly I do not accept the premise that lies behind it.

 

For permanent directors, a budget provision of £132,000 is made to cover salary and employer costs such as tax, national insurance and pension. This is one of the lowest amounts for unitary authorities in the country. Whether or not he thinks this represents value for money, in York we generally pay less than the market rate. Assuming he does not want the Council to carry vacancies at a senior level and put front line services at risk, I would be interested to know what Cllr Steward's suggested alternative approach would be.”

 

(xxxi)To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Galvin:

 

“Given that the Guildhall complex has been empty for some 12 months what plans are being discussed by officers or Cabinet member for it’s future use?”

 

Reply:

“There is a full report coming to October Cabinet outlining progress made on the Guildhall project which will clearly set out proposals for its future use. The complex is still in regular use with the Guildhall having forward bookings through to spring 2015 and the offices being used for rehearsal space for local theatre productions.  Other interim uses are also being explored.”

 

(xxxii)                To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Galvin:

 

“What have been the overall costs expended on the Guildhall complex in the past 12 months in terms of heating, business rates and any other charges incurred?”

 

Reply:

 

“Total costs incurred on the Guildhall in 2013/14 were £118.4k, breakdown as follows:

                                                              £000’s

Repairs and Maintenance                       14.8

Energy Costs                                            26.6

Business Rates                                         63.1

Cleaning and Domestic Supplies            13.0

Other misc charges e.g alarms                  0.9”

 

 

(xxxiii)              To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Richardson:

 

“With the introduction of the new Residents Parking Discount Badge at £20 for two years in September. Can Council state what is the expected average savings expected for a resident over that time frame and will residents be given extra discount for paying for there parking by Credit/Debit Card?”

 

Reply:

“There are potentially over 30,000 active Minster Badges in use at this time. It will be up to individual residents to decide for themselves whether the Minster Badge makes economic sense to purchase. For those that work in the city during evenings – savings of up to £1,000 could be achieved from not paying evening charges over a two year period. However for those that only park on an irregular basis it may not make any financial sense to purchase a badge and pay the higher rate.


It should be noted that a range of parking options are available for residents.

 

There are no plans to provide discounts for paying by credit / debit card as the primary advantage to motorists of being able to pay this way is the convenience of not having to find the correct change, rather than any financial saving.”

 

(xxxiv)              To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Barton:

 

“What measures is the Cabinet Member taking to investigate the cause of what appears to be job dissatisfaction amongst senior officers?”

Reply:

“Much as I like Cllr Barton and want to give him the full and frank answer he deserves I am finding it hard to do so on this occasion as I have absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

 

We have had two recent promotions amongst senior staff and the results of staff surveys are showing as 'Green' (thereby good) in all but one area, which would not indicate the job dissatisfaction he refers to.”

 

(xxxv)               To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Richardson:

 

“Given Councils flagship call centre has had time to find its feet, will Council provide the following information:

 

1.   What is the longest time taken to answer an incoming call?

 

Reply:

“In the last quarter the longest time to answer a call was 29mins 46 secs, which is clearly unacceptable. However it is also quite exceptional. The average time to answer calls across the call centre in the last quarter was 53 secs across all of our lines.  Average waiting times for the quarter across each of our lines is outlined below:

 

Average Speed of Answer

Operators

00:00:38

Council Tax

00:00:58

Smarter

00:01:00

Neighbourhoods

00:01:00

Parking

00:00:10

Planning

00:00:58

Benefits General

00:01:43

Benefits Changes

00:01:01

Benefits New Claim

00:00:51

YFAS Freephone

00:01:45

YFAS

00:01:17

 

 

2.   What was the cost of that phone call based on the standard local call rate?”

 

Reply:

“Based on BT phone tariff guide for residential customers of 3.3p per minutes is (so 29.76 x 0.033 =) £0.98p for the longest call in the quarter.”

 

(xxxvi)              To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Ayre:

 

“Why is the facility to report potholes, faulty street lights, blocked footpaths etc from the “Do it on line - Report it” section of the council website still not available despite assurances given by the Cabinet Member in March that this would be available by the end of April?”

 

Reply:

“I could give a long and technical answer to this question which would no doubt be dismissed as gobbledygook so I will give the shortened version which is simply technical problems. Cllr Ayre raises a valid issue and I know that officers are working hard to ensure that the commitment given on this is honoured.

 

The revised and current plan is to start the phased replacement programme to allow this to happen for these services within the next 3 weeks.”

 

(xxxvii)            To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Reid:

 

“Residents are still not being given a reference number for any complaint that they raise and instead are being given a standard response saying: “at present, due to current technical problems, we are unable to provide you with a reference number”. This has been the position for over 12 months now. When can those reporting issues to the Council expect to be given a reference number?”

 

Reply:

 

“All customers whose complaint is logged directly via ‘haveyoursay’ or passed to ‘haveyoursay’ inbox / email address or via phones direct to the Customer Centre   - are all given a unique CF or CCF reference number. 

 

The Customer Centre Manager has spoken to the customer centre phone team manager and they think the issue might be that until recently we were not communicating sufficiently that the complaint will be passed to another team and a reference number allocated.  

 

This has been rectified and we now let customers know when we are taking complaint details from them, that the customer feedback team will contact them with a reference number.”

 

(xxxviii)           To the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance from
Cllr Ayre:

 

“What is the current gap between the Council’s overall borrowing requirement and the amount that has currently been borrowed and does the Cabinet Member expect that borrowing to take place before or after the local elections?”

 

Reply:

“The difference between the actual current borrowing and the borrowing requirement (capital finance requirement) is set out in regular reports to Audit and Governance, and to Cabinet, therefore this information is freely available to all Members of the Council. I can confirm the figures below at the end of 13/14 financial year :-

 

13/14 capital finance requirement  £ 311.2m (includes £140.3m Housing revenue account)

13/14 actual debt  £253.3m

 

All decisions regarding the actual borrowing are delegated to the Chief Finance Officer (the Director of Customer and Business Support), and he determines when borrowing is taken, and the balance between actual borrowing and underlying need for borrowing. This is influenced by a number of factors including levels of cash balances, current/forecast future interest rates, and planned capital expenditure. There is no political influence in terms of these decisions. As such I cannot confirm when borrowing might be taken, though clearly the member can speak to the Director himself.”

 

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

 

“Does the Cabinet Member have an estimate of the expected uptake of free school meals for classes up to Year 2 in September?”

 

Reply:

“We have been very focused on this issue since the change in the law came in and as I visit primary schools it is always something I ask about; responses vary, some schools are very confident, others have some concerns particularly about managing the length of lunch breaks when an increase in uptake from younger children may mean that the overall meal time may take longer. But all are confident they will manage the situation. We have worked generally on an 85% take up – in line with the two pilot schemes in Durham and Newham. This will be monitored across all Key Stage 1 schools in the first few weeks of the new school year and this will allow us to monitor the impact on kitchens and kitchen staff as well as how the schools manage the increased take up.

We have put in new equipment to many school kitchens to assist catering staff.

 

One side benefit from the expected increase in school meal take up in key stage 1 has been that the LA have been able to re-negotiate the contract with our catering contractor ISS and as a result for the parents of children in those schools which are in the contract and whose child is in KS 2 the price of a school meal reduces from £2.25 to £2.00 per day from September.”

 

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

 

“In view of the shortage of foster parents, does the Cabinet Member agree that the dissemination of what little information that exists to the general public is sadly lacking and needs to be more proactive?”

 

Reply:

“It is one of our major priorities to recruit and approve more foster carers and it is an ongoing exercise as well as the targeted work that was done during the recent Fostering Week initiative. The Team work with the Council’s Communications Team to ensure that all our marketing and publicity is targeted to achieve the best outcomes. In addition we also work with North Yorkshire, East Riding and Fostering Network to explore new initiatives, which enhance the publicity and recruitment of new foster carers.

 

We have revised our arrangements with foster carers recently and believe that we now have a very strong and attractive offer to people wishing to become foster parents. We are currently developing a piece of work that could further enhance the role of foster carers and therefore make it a more attractive opportunity.

The Corporate Parenting Board receives regular reports on all aspects of the Fostering and Adoption Service.”

 

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

 

“Could the Cabinet Member update Council on what is happening with Space 217?”

 

Reply:

“Regrettably Space 217 does not fall within my sphere of influence – although I very recently went past it on my way to somewhere else.”

 

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

 

“Will the Cabinet member make a commitment to retain the same number of Youth Centres as currently exist and detail the activities which will be available to young people operating from them?”

 

Reply:

“Both the Council’s local Youth Centres – 68 Centre and Moor Lane Youth Centre have been retained. There are no immediate plans to close either centre and we are looking to find a wider community role for them. We are opening up our buildings to other youth groups at minimal cost.

 

A full programme can be circulated. Members are being given every opportunity to attend regular briefings around youth and community services.”

 

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

 

“Can the Cabinet Member inform the council what stage has been reached in the discussions between the York Conservation Trust and the York Theatre Royal to take over or purchase the Theatre Royal and the De Grey rooms, and has a value been agreed for the properties?”

 

Reply:

I am not party to any discussions that might have taken place between the York Conservation Trust and the York Theatre Royal and cannot therefore comment. 

 

Just in case Cllr Barton is confused over who owns what:  The Theatre Royal in fact belongs to the Council, whilst the de Grey building is owned by the York Conservation Trust.

 

However, with regard to the Theatre, the Council is open to innovative ideas about the best way forward to secure investment in the building to secure its long-term future, especially in light of the excellent news concerning the Theatres successful Arts Lottery bid supported by £500k of capital from the Council.

 

Culture is a vital part of the life of this city and York Theatre Royal is a vital part of our cultural heritage. It is therefore in the interest of this council that we support and encourage the increased sustainability of York Theatre Royal.

 

I have therefore instructed officers to investigate all the options and talk to all interested parties.

 

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

 

“Regarding the “Grand Departy” held at Huntington Stadium on 4th July, how much was spent on this event (broken down by artist fees, charity contributions, equipment hire, stadium costs, traffic management, staffing costs, hospitality etc), how much income was derived (broken down by ticket sales, sponsorship etc), and who took the decision – and when – to add this event to the Tour de France calendar?”

 

Reply:

The Huntington Stadium concert was added to the calendar of events under the delegated authority of the Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods.

 

The final costs and income of the concert, along with an evaluation of all aspects of the immensely successful Tour de France York Depart are currently being worked on and a report will be produced shortly and available to members.

 

I would personally like to thank and congratulate the ward councillors who worked with residents on all of our  community events, officers who enabled them to do that and most importantly our communities for embracing the Tour de France  and ensuring there were so many wonderful aspects to the cultural and sporting calendar in York and Yorkshire in the run up to the 6 July.

 

(xlv)    To the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism from Cllr Cuthbertson:

 

“What is the Cabinet Member’s deadline for starting work on the ground at the new Community Stadium at Huntington and what is her current best estimate of its opening date?”

 

Reply:

The current best estimate for the start of work at the new stadium is March 2015 with an estimated completion date of July 2016.

 

 

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