A period of 20 minutes is allocated for questions to be put to Cabinet Members by members of the Council. Notice of questions need not be given in advance of the meeting. Questions must relate to the powers, duties or responsibilities of the Cabinet. Questions put to Cabinet Members must relate to their portfolio responsibilities.
The Leader will determine how Cabinet question time should be allocated where there are a number of Members wishing to ask questions. Where a question relates to a matter which appears on the agenda, the Leader may allow the question to be asked at the beginning of consideration of that item.
Councillor L Smetham asked for an update on gypsy and traveller provision. The Leader referred to a briefing circulated recently to all members of the Council regarding work commissioned to determine the need for permanent transit site provision and to identify suitable sites. The Cabinet would be bringing forward proposals for a transit site as soon as possible. It was anticipated that a planning application would be brought forward by the autumn.
Councillor K Edwards referred to reports in the press that some local authorities were considering a model of care for the protection of children based on the wholly-owned company model. He asked if there were any plans to change the pattern of childcare provision and protection at Cheshire East. The Leader replied that no proposals had come forward for consideration by the Cabinet and that while the wholly-owned company model worked well in many areas, he was personally doubtful about the use of the model for the delivery of care services. He added that safeguarding services should be provided by the Council’s in-house social workers.
Councillor Edwards also referred to the statement made by the Leader at the Annual Council meeting regarding the Council’s engagement with and support of people living with dementia, their families and carers. He asked if the Council’s thinking had since moved forward in this area. The Leader replied that this was a significant issue for Cheshire East and that the Cabinet would be bringing forward proposals in the summer.
Councillor L Brown asked if there were likely to be any more resources to support the work of the voluntary, faith and community sector which provided assistance for many vulnerable people within the community. The Leader agreed on the need to support the sector and referred to the Council’s budget surplus for the year, suggesting that it might be appropriate to pass this back to people.
Councillor Rhoda Bailey asked if there had been any progress with regard to the future use of the Lyme Green site at Macclesfield. The Leader replied that the Council was waiting to hear from a local business that was thinking of moving onto the site. Both Councillor Bailey and the local parish council would be informed once the final position was known.
Councillor R Menlove asked if there were any plans for the Council to investigate the funding available to exploit coal-bed methane in Cheshire East after a neighbouring authority had incurred substantial costs in conducting a similar investigation. The Leader replied that he would look to the Government or private sector to fund any such investigations and not the taxpayers of Cheshire East.
Councillor B Murphy asked when the political group leaders would meet to resolve the outstanding issue of the new Deputy Cabinet Member posts and their proposed remuneration. The Leader replied that this would happen very soon.
Councillor Murphy also asked why the Cabinet was not willing to enhance the role of the Macclesfield Local Service Delivery Committee. The Leader replied that the Council would not prejudge the outcome of the Macclesfield Community Governance Review and would wait until the preferences of local people were known regarding future governance arrangements for Macclesfield.