To receive any questions from members of the public 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
The below questions were raised by four members of the public:
4.1 The CEO of a local business addressed the Committee raising his concerns about the methodology used in the Online Survey. The survey was carried out by the consultants as part of the strategic and operational review (details of which can be found within pages 4-4 of Appendix 4). He believed that the data input into the process lacked reliability and validity. In particular, he criticised the data collection methods, the bias in the questions, and the fact that the geographical boundaries were not clearly defined.
He then posed the following question to Cabinet members:
How can this administration justify guessing answers which compromise mine and other city businesses?
The Corporate Director responded to say that the aim of the survey was to collect qualitative data from a broad range of stakeholders as set out in the Terms of Reference. She added that the report does not claim to use quantitative or statistical data. Moreover, Melanie Sensicle was chosen because of the company’s industry expertise in the area.
4.2 A former local business owner also addressed the Committee. He questioned whether the Managing Director of MGL (Marketing Gloucester Limited) had been involved in the review. Secondly, he asked who would now be delivering the City’s marketing events. Thirdly, he expressed his concern that given the current situation with MGL, current MGL staff could be demoralised about their future job security
Firstly, Councillor Watkins, the current Chair of the MGL Board, advised that the Managing Director of MGL had not been involved in the review. Secondly, Councillor Morgan, Cabinet Member of Culture and Leisure explained that the Council was having a thorough review of all the events delivered, and who would be best placed to deliver the events. He added that it was likely going to be a mixture of existing and new staff. In response to the third query, Councillor Watkins stated that whilst she could not talk in detail about private employment matters in the public domain, she could however confirm that herself and the Corporate Director had offered their support to MGL staff.
4.4 A former employee of MGL then spoke to the Committee. She explained that she was behind a whistleblowing case brought against the company in 2014, due to what she considered to be major issues across different areas within the company. Thus, her question was why did Gloucester City Council ignore the concerns raised within the whistleblowing in 2014?
Councillor James, who was also the former Chair of the MGL board stated that it would not be appropriate for him to delve into employment matters in the public domain. However, he confirmed that the whistleblowing case in question was investigated by an independent organisation and the allegations levelled against MGL were found to be groundless.
4.4 A resident of Gloucester asked how the situation with MGL would be turned around for the most positive outcome in the future. Councillor Morgan responded to say that the decision as to how MGL would operate would be determined in the future, and in the meantime the Council was consulting widely.