Agenda Item 6: Matters Requiring Approval By The Council
The Mayor asked for agreement of items (i) Minute 175 (Cabinet – 3/11/11) – Provision for Inflation 2012/13, (ii) Minute 198 (Cabinet – 24/11/11) – Insurance Fund Budget 2012/13 and (iv) Minute 211 – Council Tax Base 2012/13.
Items (i), (ii) and (iv) were agreed.
Items (iii) Minute 210 – Corporate Plan 2012/13, (iv) Minute 215 – Capital Programme and Financing 2012-15 and (vi) Minute 216 – Budget Projections 2012-15 in accordance with Standing Order 7(2) were dealt with as Agenda Item 10 (Matters for Debate).
Agenda Item 7: Matters for Noting
Minute 232 (8/12/11) – Local Account (Reason – waiving of call-in) was noted.
Agenda Item 8: Questions
The Mayor invited Mr. John Brace (a member of the public) to address his first question to Cllr Steve Foulkes. John Brace addressed his question to Cllr Steve Foulkes. Cllr Steve Foulkes answered his question. John Brace addressed his supplementary question to Cllr Steve Foulkes. Cllr Steve Foulkes answered his supplementary question. Cllr Jeff Green wanted to ask a supplementary question but was refused permission by the Mayor.
Cllr Pat Williams addressed a question to Cllr Harry Smith (Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Transport) about 20mph zones.
Cllr Harry Smith answered Cllr Pat Williams’ question.
The Mayor asked Cllr Pat Williams if she had a supplementary question.
A question of Cllr Ann Bridson (representing Prenton) was asked by Cllr Stuart Kelly of one of Wirral Council’s Merseytravel representatives on the subject of a new station for Prenton and Beechwood on the Bidston – Wrexham Borderlands line as well as electrification.
The question was answered by the Merseytravel representative.
The Mayor asked Cllr Ann Bridson (and Cllr Stuart Kelly) if they wished to put a supplementary question.
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>> John Brace There has been much public interest in the (as yet unpublished) AKA (Anna Klonowksi Associates Ltd) report into issues that need to be remedied at Wirral Council.
My personal view is that Wirral Council needs to publish the report, reassure the public what it’s doing differently now and restore its tarnished reputation as a result of the events that led to the report being commissioned.
Please could you answer:
a) what date the report will be published on and whether changes are to be made between the draft version and final version (if so the reasons why) and
b) an update on changes and decisions made since the report, as a result of the report becoming available in draft form, including progress (which includes consultation) already made and how the changes will benefit Wirral Council, its staff, its councillors and the public?
>> Cllr Steve Foulkes [sighs] What a surprise seeing you here John! [laughter]
Well, can I just thank you for your question? And, and this is a genuine genuine answer, errm which will be backed up by a errm official statement which has been circulated to all elected Members and it is a public document so I’m more than happy for you to have a copy of that. If you haven’t got it yet you’ll receive it very, very shortly.
As long as I’ve been Leader, I’ve been pressing both Anna Klonowski and the officers [inaudible] of the long awaited report. It’s not in this Council’s interests [inaudible] drag out any longer.
But it is in the Council’s interests is that procedure is done properly and within err natural justice and err you know protection for the Council’s future err prospects and liabilities. Currently err Miss Klonowski and her independent solicitors are conducting a Right to Reply process. The purpose of this and its current state of progress is fully explained in the Director of Law’s advice note which has been circulated to all councillors. Like I just said a copy is on its way to you immediately.
I cannot you know give a specific date for publication of the final report but I give you my assurance that I will do all I can to make this soon and as and as reasonably possible. It’s not in this Council’s best interests to drag on. We want the department to move forward. We want the Council to move forward.
What we have done though in terms of of what reports are available. We’ve insisted that the corporate governance issues are up and running, and they are believed to be at the stem of some of the issues in the other report. I can’t say any further than that.
So I can’t you know. It would be wrong to me to tell you lies, or or or to pretend I’m, but at this point of time I cannot given that the Director’s advice note. I believe we’ll say it’s inappropriate to publish that report.
If we are true to our word that you know whistleblowers should be protected and are important within our Council’s processes, then therefore anyone involved in the whistleblower process should have the same rights as the whistleblower. My view is that individuals have the Right to Reply, have the right for natural justice.
I don’t believe that we should hurry justice just for the sake of of of of err public you know clamour. If the report is correct, and final replies then we in public cannot in full conscience cannot act upon it. It’s not at that state yet and that’s not through any fault or mine.
>>The Worshipful the Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and Rock Ferry Councillor Moira McLaughlin OK, Mr. Brace, content with that?
>>John Brace Just one small supplementary.
>>The Worshipful the Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and Rock Ferry Councillor Moira McLaughlin Supplementary [inaudible] understand that.
>>John Brace Yes, err can you give an approximate timescale, in the Spring of next year or you know something like that?
>> The Worshipful the Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and Rock Ferry Councillor Moira McLaughlin I think he has answered that Mr. Brace to be fair.
>> Cllr Steve Foulkes I would would hope, I would hope it’s as soon as possible.
I’ve not been given an exact date.
But I have been informed, and as we’ve all been informed, that progress has been made on the Right to Reply. Err, there are some late Right to Reply issues come in come into the system as [inaudible]ed in Bill’s report. Everything around this issue is within the report of the Director of Law and I think that once you will read that you will understand [inaudible] difficult position he got in this type of report.
As I say it’s not in the Council’s interests, or my interests or anybody’s interest for that report to be delayed any longer than it need be. Because quite frankly people need to move on, the Authority needs to move on and rights need to err err wrongs need to be put right, and I’m interested in that happening. But, I can’t give you an exact date. I’m not going to give out [inaudible].
>> John Brace Ok, thank you.
>> The Worshipful the Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and Rock Ferry Councillor Moira McLaughlin Thanks.
>> Cllr Jeff Green Supplementary to that conversation.
This is what Cllr Elderton (and others) said (or at least what could be heard on the recording as there are segments on the recording where there is more than one voice talking at a time) so some words may be lost. There are five speakers in this segment.
Cllr David Elderton (Conservative Party), Chair of the Planning Committee
John Brace (this is myself)
Leonora Brace (this is my wife and editor of this blog) Cllr Chris Blakeley (Conservative Party), Standards Committee member
Legal adviser (Legal adviser to the Planning Committee)
Chair Cllr David Elderton: Sorry, can I just stop you councillor for a minute? Somebody is videoing proceedings in the front row and that is not allowed.
Chair Cllr David Elderton: Very good, I’m just concerned that it might err influence the way people speak in an open manner. And I’ll take some legal advice on that.
Legal adviser: I’m not sure of the errm of the issue in regards to what.
John Brace: Sorry I can’t hear you, could you use the microphone?
Legal adviser: not sure of the difference in what Cllr Foulkes has told you or the errm take what the Standards Board have said into account. It is highly unusual for the for the undertaking to be errm recorded, and I’m not sure if what the Standards Committee have recommended has actually been passed down to this committee as as a as a decision.
Chair Cllr David Elderton: Certainly not.
Legal adviser: I would think that until that has been until it’s been actually passed down to the various committees, that that would not be accepted as usual practice. I think there is transparency with regards to the media and in an around the success and publicity
Editor Leonora Brace: Turn it off!
Legal adviser: with regards to the decision making process but the actual visual recording something I would expect the Chairman to be aware of to be acceptable. If the Chairman hasn’t been informed by the Leader then I would think that pending clarification and confirmation with the Chairman I would think that it must be acceptable.
I’ve stood as the Bidston & St. James Liberal Democrat candidate in 2007, 2008, 2010 and this year. Each year a Green candidate called Bowler has stood, as the ballot paper is listed alphabetically by surname I have always been number 2! Has the Green party given up here?
In addition to there being no Green candidate there is no BNP candidate either (which I am pleased about)! I was half expecting an independent George Thomas to stand against Harry Smith again as he did in 2007.
So you will have a choice of only four candidates on May 5th.
John Michael Brace
Jenmaleo, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, Wirral, CH43 7PH (in Bidston & St. James ward)
Helen Frances Romnes
6 Pleasant Street, Wallasey, CH45 5EU (in New Brighton ward)
25 Holmlands Drive, Oxton, Birkenhead, CH43 0QY (in Oxton ward)
Jerrold Samuel Vickers
13 Bramwell Avenue, Prenton, CH43 0RG (in Prenton)
However, if you wish to vote for a local candidate, the Liberal Democrats are your only choice. As the Liberal Democrats came 2nd last year, voting Conservative or UKIP will result in Labour being elected.
I do wish all candidates the best of luck with their election campaigns and look forward to hearing from them. However I have already made my mind up to vote Liberal Democrat, so you may have to try persuading someone else to vote for you. 😉