Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Council received five questions from Members to Committee Chairs/Portfolio Holders. The responses to the five questions had been published in the supplementary agenda for the meeting.
(A) Question from Councillor Margaret Notley re: the Council’s telephone enquiry system.
Supplementary question: “Please could the Executive Member remind the Customer Services Centre Team to be mindful of those residents whose experience in contacting the Council had not been good, and challenge the Team to get telephone waiting times down even further?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Culture, Leisure & Information Technology replied that the Council was always looking to improve the service. If the questioner had the names of specific members of the public who had experienced difficulties she would be happy to discuss those cases with the Transformation and Customer Services Teams.
(B) Question from Councillor Andy McGuinness re: the Councillors’ locality budget scheme.
In the absence of Councillor McGuinness, Councillor Robin Parker CC asked the following supplementary question – “Please could the split in spending between Revenue and Capital items in the SBC Councillors’ Locality Budget as a whole be provided, and will there be guidelines given to councillors as to how they would be able to spend their locality budgets?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Co-operative Council & Neighbourhood Communities replied that she would consult officers and provide a written answer to this question.
(C) Question from Councillor Bret Facey re: the payroll systems for staff and councillors.
Supplementary question: “Can the Leader of the Council guarantee that there were no other questionable use of resources (like the previous councillor payroll system) causing a small, but unnecessary, cost to the Council?”
The Leader of the Council replied that there were quirky accounting processes in most local authorities across the UK. He was pleased that the Council had taken steps to integrate councillors’ payroll into the existing staff system. However, he was aware that Hertfordshire County Council had separate staff and councillor payroll systems and had no plans to change to a single system.
(D) Question from Councillor Robin Parker CC re: the effect of changes in the local media on the Council’s Communications Team.
Supplementary question: “Does the Council provide all help to the Local Radio, and is the SBC studio at the rear of the Council Chamber still used and, if not, why not?”
The Leader of the Council reminded the questioner that the Labour Group had supported a Council motion submitted by his Group stressing the importance of radio as a means of communication. He was unaware of the studio mentioned in the question, but would liaise with officers to find out. He was aware that the SBC Communications Team were in regular contact with all forms of media, and did what they could to work with Local radio in publicising the Council’s work.
(E) Question from Councillor Adam Mitchell CC re: the impact of Right to Buy sales of the Council’s housing stock on the town and residents.
Supplementary question: “Given the discounts available to tenants for Right to Buy, how are these opportunities communicated to them and how often?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Housing & Housing Development replied that all of the details on how tenants could apply for Right to Buy were available on the Council’s website.
Publication date: 31/01/2024
Date of decision: 24/01/2024
Decided at meeting: 24/01/2024 - Council