(At least two clear days notice required, in writing, to the Proper Officer in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.3.)
(a) Question to the Leader received from Councillor Malyon:
Q: “When will the Chairman of the Council, Cllr Bull be vacating the chairmanship of the District Council?”
A: It was stated that Councillor Bull’s term of office would run to the next Annual Meeting of the Council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972. In response to supplementary questions the Leader clarified that the letter issued to the Department for Communities and Local Government questioned the rule with regards to the ability for a council to appoint/remove its Chairman and that the justification for this did not need to be given. The Leader reminded Councillor Malyon that the Council has the right to appoint the Chairman but not to remove the Chairman and that there would be one more scheduled meeting of the Council before the Annual meeting in May.
(b) Question to the Portfolio Holder for the Environment received from Councillor Malyon:
Q: “Would the portfolio holder for Environmental health confirm as he has done previously that the waste collection service will stay In House at the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council?”
A: “As the Councillor knows Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has to achieve significant revenue savings in order to balance its budgets. All activities delivered by the Council are therefore under scrutiny, to determine if savings can be found or income increased in order to balance our budgets. It is a very important part of this Council’s role to ensure residents have access to reliable, high performing and cost effective services.
We are reviewing options for the delivery of our much valued waste collection service, together with street cleaning and horticultural activities. In doing so we need to keep an open mind, to find a long term sustainable option that protects services, is affordable for the Council and its taxpayers, and looks after our employees. We do not know what the solution will be just yet and so it would not be appropriate for me to give a cast iron guarantee. But I will reiterate, I shall be working with colleagues to find the best possible solution that is good for the Council, good for its taxpayers and good for its employees.”
In response to supplementary questions the Portfolio Holder stated that the Council would support the workforce who do a tremendous job and that the Waste Working Group was doing an excellent job to widen councillors’ knowledge. It was important to obtain all the necessary information before a decision was taken.
(c) Question to the Leader received from Cllr C. Wood
Q: “Would the Leader agree with me that the only way this Council can move forward with the Julie Bull situation is for a full external investigation to be carried out?”
A: The Leader reported that Councillor Wood and other group leaders were being kept up to date of the situation by the Chief Executive and herself. An external investigation was taking place. In response to supplementary questions the Leader stated that she did not wish to say or do anything that may pre-empt or affect the external investigation taking place. With regards to the standards complaints process the Leader explained that she would be happy to work with councillors to put in place a remedy to avoid similar situations arising again.
(d) Question to the Leader received from Cllr P. Wilkinson
Q: “Will the officers of this Council be publishing an edited version of the webcast from the Extraordinary Meeting of Wednesday 19th October and if so, when will this be available?”
A: The webcast would be transmitted following the conclusion of the external enquiry. In response to supplementary questions the Leader repeated that she did not wish the transmission of the webcast to compromise or prejudice the external enquiry, confirmed that group leaders were being kept informed and that external legal advice had been sought.