Liberal Democrat Chief Executive Chris Fox steps down

Liberal Democrat Party Chief Executive Chris Fox today announced he is to step down as Chief Executive in November. He stated “on a personal level I feel that now is the right time to move on. “.

Lord Rennard, his predecessor as Chief Executive, was approachable friendly and genuinely cared about people and kept in touch with the grass-roots of the party.

Chris Fox on the other hand was a different type of person to Lord Rennard with a more aloof management style, the party headquarters will benefit from someone different ready to lead the party into the future challenges it faces. I look forward to finding out who it will be.”

The new address for the Liberal Democrats is 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE which they recently moved to from 4 Cowley Street, London SW1P 3NB.

Cabinet 1st September 2011 Part 8 – Street Lighting Central Management System Trial, Outcome Based Commissioning

Dave Green introduced item 11 Street Lighting Central Management System Trial. He said it was the outcome of a small pilot in New Brighton which had been well received and had led to a reduction in energy consumption. He would come back as to whether it was viable to roll it out to the rest of the streetlights under invest to save. There had been no adverse publicity.

Cllr Harry Smith referred to 13.1 of the report and the consideration made for disadvantaged groups on health and safety ground. Cllr Phil Davies said the report was accepted.

Ian Coleman introduced the next report on Outcome Based Commissioning. He said it was an update on progress as requested on the 22nd june. It was under review and there would be a further report. Cllr Adrian Jones said he was “quite happy”. Cllr Anne McArdle said that she welcomed it and asked specifically about discussions with the Department of Adult Social Services. Ian Coleman said that all departments were involved. Cllr Adrian Jones had a small comment about the range of risks identified in item 5. He said it was a “good report” and “nicely presented”. Cllr Phil Davies commented on the similarities between outcome based commissioning and Neighbourhood Plans.

Cabinet 1st September 2011 Part 7 – Setting the Scene for Wirral Waters – A Green Infrastructure Investment Framework M53 Junction 3, Woodchurch – Major Safety Scheme – Cost Variation, Pothole Funding

Item 8 and its appendix were considered next. Kevin Adderley said there was a change in 4.2 which refers to the Housing and Community Agency which they had been informed of yesterday. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills was taking forward the Green Infrastructure Framework but it was not confirmed yet. There would be some costs but they did not know what they were.

Cllr Phil Davies said it was a “really good report”. He referred to the £1.4 million of North West Development Agency money to be spent over four years. He said hopefully there would be job opportunities for local people. He was happy to accept the report and agree its recommendations.

Cllr Anne McArdle spoke next about the bidding process. The report was agreed.

Dave Green introduced the next report on M53 Junction 3, Woodchurch – Major Safety Scheme – Cost Variation. He said these were the final scheme costs, one overran but it was working very well. Cllr Harry Smith said the work caused deterioration to the highway due to the Winter weather conditions and that the Highway Agency was keen to reduce disruption to road users. The report was accepted.

Dave Green then introduced the report on Pothole Funding. He said this was a specific grant, where it had been used had been posted on the internet. Cllr Harry Smith said he had “not much to add” as the potholes had been identified after inspection he had no problem. The report was agreed.

Cabinet 1st September 2011 Part 6 – You Choose Budget Consultation, Local Development Framework – Local Geological Sites Update

Jim Wilkie said in parallel with the simulator the engagement team had planned 120 events at a range of facilities. He said he had the list with him. Cllr Phil Davies asked if this was at supermarkets, One-Stop Shops and libraries and if this was in addition to the work on the Neighbourhood Pans and Scrutiny? He also asked when it will run till? Ian Coleman answered that it would run until the 30th November then a full analysis would come to Cabinet in December. Jim Wilkie said he couldn’t find any supermarkets on the list. Cllr Phil Davies said they had a flavour of the budget simulator and how it works. He expected further reports at the end and encouraged everybody to have a go. He said 40-odd local authorities of all political colours were signed to it. He said it made residents think about issues about spending. Cllr Chris Meaden thanked the staff for the wonderful job meeting with residents and asked this to be passed on please. Cllr Phil Davies said the Community Engagement Team had promoted it well especially for people who were not good with computers. He thanked Ian Coleman and Peter Molyneux. The report was noted.

The Cabinet then considered a report on the Local Development Framework – Local Geological Sites Update and its Local Geological Sites Report Appendix. Kevin Adderley said he had nothing to add to the report. Some had been added, some deselected and some modified. The report was agreed.

Cabinet 1st September 2011 Part 5 – You Choose Budget Consultation

The Cabinet then considered Agenda item 6 – You Choose – Budget Consultation.

Cllr Phil Davies chairing introduced Steve Owen who would be giving a presentation for this item. Mr. Ian Coleman (Director of Finance) said it was a budget consultation. He said a number of local authorities were using this to consult, however it was the first time they had run through the key aspects.

Steve Owen demonstrated how it worked. They had used an increase of 3% Council Tax as Council Tax rises had been capped last year. So far Wirral Council had received two hundred suggestions. These ranged from reducing pay, selling land, pay freezes to sharing services.

There were some problems showing this during the meeting as it didn’t work, so Steve Owen took them to the next screen which showed that there had been 647 responses, the average Council Tax increase or decrease of these 647 responses was a 3% decrease. He tried to show the areas on a map where the people had responded from. However the Google map wouldn’t show. Steve Owen said that this was a “technical issue outside of his control”.

He also demonstrated to those present how a person would go through the steps needed to respond to the budget consultation. Unfortunately each time part way through Internet Explorer crashed and had to be restarted.

Cllr Phil Davies thanked him and said he had had a go and was heartened by the 647 submissions so far. He asked how long it had been running for and was told two weeks. Cllr Phil Davies said it was the 5th highest number of responses from the 41 local authorities running it. Cheshire West and Chester had 309, Liverpool 9 and Sefton 459. He said that 647 was good as they had been proactive in promoting it.