Issue - meetings

Public Question Time (15 minutes)

Meeting: 15/01/2020 - Cabinet (Item 82)

Public Question Time (15 minutes)

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


A member of the public who represented Gloucester business interests advised Members that he had experienced city Council meetings since 1956 and perceived a decline in positivity over the past decade.  In relation to agenda item 10 (Marketing Gloucester) he asked if Councillors across all parties could unite to promote the city and maintain Marketing Gloucester (MGL) as independent in order to take advantage of funding opportunities.  The Leader of the Council agreed with the aspiration expressed.  He commented that he believed all Councillors wanted the best for the city but differed in their views of how to achieve that goal.  The Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure reiterated the importance of a positive approach and commented that despite robust discussions at the special MGL meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (19 December 2019) he understood that everyone wanted to move forward together towards a positive outcome in the matter. 


A resident of Gloucester and former employee of MGL asked why a Human Resources company (which in their opinion was not an independent company) was engaged to investigate allegations they had made about the former Chief Executive and financial irregularities.  The Corporate Director in his capacity as Monitoring Officer advised Members that the question could not be answered as the appointment had not been made by the Council. 


The resident referred to whistleblowing allegations they had made to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy, then Chair of the MGL Board, and enquired as to why the MGL Chief Executive had been allowed to remain self-employed and if the bookkeeper was dispensed with.  Regarding the Chief Executive the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy advised that it was not appropriate to discuss matters relating to individual persons.  He further advised that the bookkeeper question was for the MGL Board to answer.


A Gloucester business owner expressed concern at a perceived lack of transparency around MGL and the funds it had been granted from the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (GfirstLEP).  He sought reassurance that control would be asserted and the funding directed properly.  The Leader of the Council noted his concerns and assured him that the issues would be addressed in the consideration of agenda item 10.


The business owner commented that oversight and management issues were becoming apparent from 2017. He sought confirmation that lessons had been learnt.  The Leader of the Council agreed that although MGL had done a good job in many respects, shortfalls in areas such as oversight had been identified and confirmed that Members will work together to ensure what develops is good for the city.