Agenda item

Members' Question Time

a)    Leader and Cabinet Members’ Question Time (45 minutes) 


Any member of the Council may ask the Leader of the Council or any Cabinet Member any question upon: 


·       Any matter relating to the Council’s administration 

·       Any matter relating to any report of the Cabinet appearing on the Council’s summons 

·       A matter coming within their portfolio of responsibilities 


b)    Questions to Chairs of Meetings (15 Minutes) 


Questions and responses will be published at least 24 hours before the meeting. Supplementary questions will be put and answered during the meeting, subject to the relevant time limit.


93.1      In respect of question 1, Councillor Hilton stated that Members had previously been assured by a previous Cabinet Members that there would be an exciting development on the former Sainsbury’s site at Northgate Street and asked the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy proposed to do to kick start the site. Councillor S. Chambers advised that proposals were yet to come forward but whatever was proposed, whether it be leisure, retail, entertainment or residential, would be considered.


93.2      With regard to question 2, Councillor Hilton how many servers had to be rebuilt and what was the budgetary cost. Councillor Norman advised that, at this stage, it was not possible to project figures. She further advised that some data provision had been moved from the previous council offices and, as such, were not on council premises and therefore these were not affected.


93.3      Councillor Pullen asked, in relation to question three, why checks could not be made regarding whether current investments had a Russian origin in light of Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Councillor Norman explained that Councillor Pullen’s original question was in relation to procurement which would be taking place in the future but that she would liaise with the Director of Policy and Resources regarding whether any current services were in receipt of Russian investment.


93.4      In respect of question 4, Councillor Pullen asked whether the Council would write to all residents who did not pay Council Tax by direct debit to advise on how they could claim the Council Tax rebate offered by the Government. Councillor Norman advised that the council worked with local advice partnerships who disseminate such information and that a more detailed communication plan would be drawn up upon receiving finalised advice from central government.


93.5      Councillor Hyman asked if the Leader of the Council had asked Ubico if a vehicle could be provided for garden waste collection in narrow streets in his ward. Councillor Cook stated that discussions had taken place but that it would not be right to say garden waste would be collected from such properties when it was unlikely to be deliverable.


93.6      Councillor Castle asked how it could be ascertained how much could be delivered in terms of refuse collection from street bins when it was uncertain how many bins there were. Councillor Cook noted that the mapping exercise referred to in the original published answer examined open space. He advised that Ubico would continue such collections and would be monitored so that bins would not be overflowing.


93.7      In respect of question 8, Councillor Field asked if, given clothes banks were a ‘hot-spot’ for flytipping, now was the time to consider removing the clothes banks particularly given they were for a charity based in Wolverhampton. Councillor Cook replied that landlords could be contacted to examine whether they could remove them themselves.


93.8      Councillor Chambers-Dubus asked, following the removal of the commitment to not work with publications such as the Daily Mail and the Sun, where the Council drew the line between strong opinion and hate speech. In the absence of the Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Lewis, Councillor Norman stated that, in a free society, everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. A free press also operated and some publications such as newspapers had different political viewpoints which were open to interpretation by all.


93.9      Regarding question 15, Councillor Hilton asked Councillor Norman when she expected an answer to whether the Council would receive funding for cyber recovery. Councillor Norman advised that there was not necessarily a set deadline and that a formal request would be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities via the Managing Director once a precise figure had been reached.


93.10   With regard to the sale of the Herbert, Kimberley and Philpotts warehouses, Councillor Hilton asked why a planning application had not yet been received. Councillor Norman advised that officers were following this up with the prospective buyer and that they still intended to progress with an application. Officers were working with the prospective buyer to bring an application to the Planning Committee.


93.11   In respect of question 18, Councillor Hilton asked if Mod.Gov (the software which held records of previous meetings) would be available ahead of the Annual Meeting in May 2022. Councillor Norman advised that work was underway to transfer such software to a ‘cloud’ based model and that, whilst  there was optimism this could be achieved, it was not possible to place a concrete timeframe on it.


93.12   With regard to the Uniform system, Councillor Hilton asked when this would be operational. Councillor Norman that a project plan was being progressed and that officers were working hard to bring it into operation as soon as was possible.


93.13   In regards, to the cyber incident, Councillor Hilton asked if there were sufficient funds to recover. Councillor Norman responded that, as there was no final figure as yet, this was not possible to determine at the present time.


93.14   In respect of question 22, Councillor Wilson asked is phase one of the cyber recovery was complete and whether it was a requisite that laptops be physically replaced. Councillor Norman advised that differing areas had differing timescales but that recovery was progressing well. She further advised that many laptops were coming towards the end of their useful life and would need to be replaced in any event.


93.15   With regard to question 23 and whether any individual had been deported under the Home Office’s Rough Sleeping Support Service, Councillor S. Chambers advised that a written response would be provided to Councillor Wilson.


93.16   Councillor Sawyer asked, in respect of question 25, how, other than social media, the Council proposed to reach those without such means. Councillor Cook advised that the Council did as much as was possible and such details had regularly appeared in the press. Often, he further advised, Councillors were in a position to disseminate such information and that such incidences of missed collections were becoming fewer.

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