The opportunity is given to members of the public to put questions to Cabinet Members or Committee Chairs provided that a question does not relate to:
· Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings or
· Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers.
26.1 A Gloucester resident asked Councillor James, Leader of the Council, since when had it been homeless policy that housing officers assess the mental health and vulnerability of an individual and whether this was considered good practice.
26.2 Councillor Watkins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, stated that under homeless legislation, officers were obliged to give due regard to a person’s vulnerability when they present as homeless. She further stated that officers do not undertake mental health assessments but seek to understand an individual’s needs.
26.3 A Gloucester resident thanked school climate strikers for bringing the issue of climate change to the forefront of the public’s mind. He asked should not all efforts be attempted to work together in avert climate disaster.
26.4 Councillor Cook, Cabinet Member for Environment, encouraged everyone to mitigate their impact on the environment. He stressed that the City Council would co-operate with other Councils, including Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire County Council as it was an issue that could not be tackled alone. He added that individuals needed to take account of what impact they have on the climate and how they could reduce their carbon footprint.
26.5 A Gloucester resident stated that he was pleased that the Council had declared that there was a Climate Emergency. He asked all Councillors to make individual public pledges on how they would contribute to combatting climate change.
26.6 Councillor Cook encouraged all Members to play their own part to mitigate the effects of climate change and that it was up to individuals to decided what they could do themselves. Councillor Cook advised that he had had solar panels for a number of years and had increased his use of public transport.
26.7 A Gloucester resident, asked if the Council would take further action to tackle motor vehicle Idling.
26.8 Councillor Cook replied that more vehicles had an automatic engine switch off mode. He expressed doubt as to whether it was a City Council issue, as Gloucestershire County Council oversaw Highways. He encouraged everybody to turn off their engine at traffic lights.
26.9 A Gloucester asked how many people are were the Council’s waiting list for housing and how many of this number were homeless.
26.10 Councillor Watkins stated that the figures were available in the agenda. As at 1st September 2019, there were 5238 applicants on the housing register and 86 households to whom a homelessness duty was owed.
26.11 A Gloucester resident noted that the Council had purchased 48 units for use as temporary accommodation from the YMCA. He asked the council what the legal framework for this purchase was.
26.12 Councillor Watkins stated that she was pleased 48 units had been acquired and advised that there was no tender and one was not required. She further advised that the acquisition was a matter of public record as a Cabinet decision and that the housing providers were under regulatory supervision.
26.13 A Gloucester resident asked whether, since the introduction of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), crime had fallen, how many fines had been issued and how many appeals had been successful.
26.14 Councillor Watkins stated that the PSPO had been in force for almost one year and that the most significant measure had been the introduction of an alcohol-free zone. She advised that no fines had been imposed and that the enforcement phase would commence shortly. Councillor Cook advised that 3GS was engaged for enforcing measures to combat environment crime. He further advised that staff were not incentivized to issue Fixed Penalty Notices. Councillor Cook stated that whilst there was an avenue for appeal, some offences did not give rise to a right of appeal. He also advised that five Fixed Penalty Notices had been withdrawn on appeal.