Agenda item

COUNCILLORS’ QUESTION TIME (Time Allowed - 30 minutes)

13.1    Urgent Questions (Part 4 - Paragraph 9.2.(b) of Constitution – Page 4-9)


With the permission of the Mayor, questions on urgent issues may be tabled with the proviso of a subsequent written response if the issue requires research or is considered by the Mayor to be minor.


Please note that the Mayor will decide whether a question is urgent or not.


The definition of an urgent question is “An issue which could not reasonably have been foreseen or anticipated prior to the deadline for the submission of questions and which needs to be considered before the next meeting of the Council.”


Submission of urgent questions to Council requires the Member when submitting the question to specify why the issue could not have been reasonably foreseen prior to the deadline and why it has to be considered before the next meeting.  A supplementary question is not permitted.


13.2    Councillors’ Questions (Part 4 – Paragraph 9.2(a) of Constitution – Page 4 - 8)


The list of sixty three questions and their written responses are attached to the agenda.


1.1    Urgent Questions


         None received.


1.2    Questions by Councillors




1.            The sixty three questions on the Council’s agenda which had received a written reply from the relevant Cabinet Member.


2.            The following supplementary questions and responses received for the questions indicated below:


Question 1 (Councillor Questions) from Councillor Neville to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council.


“Whilst recognising the Member & Democratic Services Group as the appropriate body to consider this request, can I ask whether the Leader supports the proposal that councillor questions should be moved to the beginning of the council agenda with the time allowed increased to one hour?” 


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


The Council has a process for considering changes to the constitution via the Member and Democratic Services Group so it would be sensible to consider this suggestion, along with any other changes proposed, through that process.


Question 2 (local election result) from Councillor During to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council


Can the Leader comment further on the scale of the collapse of the Conservative vote at the recent local government elections in Enfield?


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


Looking at the results, the Conservative vote reduced by 4% across the borough as a whole compared to the previous election.  Focussing on specific areas their vote reduced by 4.65% in Cockfosters and 7.77% in Grange wards.  This compares to an increase of 10.14% for the Labour vote in Ponders End.  We are looking forward to further increases in the next local elections.


Question 4 (Ashmole School) from Councillor B Charalambous to Councillor Orhan, Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection.


Is the Cabinet Member considering additional provision, beyond that due to be provided by Bowes Primary School as a “partner school”, to supplement the number of school places in the area?


Reply from Councillor Orhan:


As a result of our carefully managed and planned approach I would like to remind Council of the numbers of school places we have already secured in Enfield and am confident that the innovative arrangements being introduced will provide the places required to meet the identified need for school places in that part of the borough.


Question 5 (Associate Cabinet Members) from Councillor Neville to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council


Did Councillor B. Charalambous position as prospective parliamentary candidate for Enfield Southgate have a bearing on his appointment to the position of Associate Cabinet Member?


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


No. Councillor Charalambous activities outside his role as councillor have no bearing whatsoever on his appointment as Associate Cabinet Member.


Question 7 (Measuring the success of Associate Cabinet Members) from Councillor Neville to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council


Given what appears to be their close resemblance to the role of an MP or GLA member, what value will the role of Associate Cabinet Member add to the existing democratic arrangements in the borough?


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


We have already covered this issue at the meeting, where I have been clear about the role, responsibilities and merits of the new position.  I don’t feel there is anything further I can do to explain the role other than to add that the effectiveness of these new posts can be judged as part of a review planned at the end of the first year.


Question 8 (Youth activities during the school holidays) from Councillor Hurman to Councillor Simbodyal, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport, Youth and Public Health


Can the Cabinet Member tell us how she will ensure that young people are made aware of the range of activities available to them over the summer?


Reply from Councillor Simbodyal:


There are a fantastic range of activities on offer over the summer for young people to access.  In terms of communication, we are starting by prioritising vulnerable young people, including young people in care, young carers and those from the Youth Offending Service, who have been given the chance of early enrolment in the activity programmes.  This has involved us communicating with over 400 professionals who work with these vulnerable young people to encourage them to take up these places.   New communication channels have also been used including Facebook, Twitter and other social media long with the development of a Young Enfield Magazine being distributed through schools and youth clubs.


Question 9 (Accountability of Associate Cabinet Members) from Councillor Neville to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council


From the report considered earlier on the agenda relating to the constitutional changes, I see that the Associate Cabinet Members will be answerable to Cabinet.  Will the Leader be willing to consider bringing forward proposals to at least allow Associate Cabinet Members to be questioned at Council?


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


I can see the justification in this proposal, not on the basis that they receive a Special Responsibility Allowance, but in view of the wider role the posts have in each locality.  I am therefore going to ask the Members & Democratic Services Group to consider amending the Council Procedure Rules to allow ACMs to be included under Council Questions.


Question 10 (World War 1 remembrance) from Councillor Lappage to Councillor Bond, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety


Can I ask what other remembrance activities are proposed?


Reply from Councillor Bond:


Beside the normal activities taking place on Remembrance Sunday, we are also planning to install a remembrance spot in a park likely to be located in eastern Enfield, which will hopefully be created before the end of the year.


Question 12 (CCTV Parking Enforcement) from Councillor Stewart to Councillor Bond, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety


Can Councillor Bond tell us about the importance of CCTV in terms of assisting in the prevention of illegal parking?


Reply from Councillor Bond:


CCTV plays an important role in ensuring that residents are able to travel around the borough safely by assisting to tackle illegal parking.  It is unfortunate that Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government does not share this view or see the advantages of its use in this way.


Question 13 (North London Waste Plan) from Councillor Lavender to Councillor Bond, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety


Has the Council or is it the intention of the Council to identify or nominate any site in the borough for waste purposes not currently being used in this way? 


Reply from Councillor Bond:




Question 14 (Support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) Councillor Jemal to Councillor Sitkin, Cabinet Member for Economic Development


Can you provide more information on the support provided to small and medium sized enterprises in terms of access to finance?


Reply from Councillor Sitkin:


Recognising that city financial institutions are failing small and medium term enterprises we are working with the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services to look at possible support options including the North London Credit Union; setting up of a peer to peer lending scheme and the potential of organising some form of crowd funding initiative.


Question 16 (School places in Southgate Green) Councillor Anderson to Councillor Orhan, Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection


Are any other developments in terms of school places planned in the Southgate Green area?


Reply from Councillor Orhan:


I would refer back to my response to the previous supplementary question from Councillor B Charalambous (see 4. above).  Yes, I would like to reassure the Council that we are looking to provide additional school places in those areas identified as being most in need with further announcements planned shortly.  I would also like to place on record my thanks to Bowes Primary and Broomfield Schools for the sterling work that they are doing to bring about new places in that area of the borough.


Question 18 (CCTV Parking Enforcement) Councillor Keazor to Councillor Bond, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety


Does the Cabinet Member feel the Prime Minister has missed the opportunity to get rid of Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government as part of the latest Cabinet reshuffle? 


Reply from Councillor Bond:


Yes, but looking at the alternative talent on offer this is not surprising.


Question 20 (European Union Waste Framework Directive) Councillor Hamilton to Councillor Bond, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety


Does Councillor Bond think that the present grant renegotiations with the European Union will have an effect on the revised waste framework directive?


Reply from Councillor Bond:


No, as it is not clear what the renegotiations will involve.


Question 21 (Council Tax) Councillor Dines to Councillor Stafford, Cabinet Member for Finance


Does the Cabinet Member agree with Harriet Harman MP who is quoted as saying that the middle classes should pay higher taxes?


Reply from Councillor Safford:


I can confirm, contrary to claims made by the opposition prior to the local election, that we have no plans to raise Council Tax at the moment and will continue to assess the Council’s financial position on a year by year basis.


Question 22 (Estate Renewal Projects) Councillor Jiagge to Councillor Oykener, Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Regeneration


How do you respond to criticism about progress on the small housing site developments in Parsonage Lane and Lavender Hill being delayed?


Reply from Councillor Oykener:


My response is that this appears to involve political games.  I am proud to report that this Administration is delivering, unlike the Opposition who closed and boarded up the properties in these areas with no strategy for redevelopment.


We have put in place a strategy and developers are now on site, starting the process of building much needed and affordable homes.  We have made excellent progress with developments in Chase, Town and Turkey Street wards.  Whilst progress has been more limited around Forty Hill, this has been due to their location in a Conservation Area which has required specific approvals to be obtained.


We have promised and are now delivering, working in an innovative way which has generated interest on a national and regional basis and led to a series of articles in The Guardian newspaper.  We know that the Conservative led Coalition Government are not keen but the Council has found a different way to fund, build and deliver affordable housing using a scheme that is the first of its kind.


Question 24 (2014 Care Act) Councillor Doyle to Councillor McGowan, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care


Can the Cabinet Member outline the cost of the 2014 Care Act to Enfield?


Reply from Councillor McGowan:


The significant downside to the Act is the cost.  The Local Government Association and London Councils have used an independent financial model to highlight the full impact of these additional costs.  In Enfield it’s estimated that the additional, currently unfunded, costs are likely to be in the region of £8m - £15m by 2018/19.  This will require the Government to provide a fair funding settlement for health and social care and not leave councils like Enfield with insufficient funds to meet the growing demands of vulnerable people in care.


Question 25 (Churchfield School) Councillor Neville to Councillor Orhan, Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection


Whilst more than happy to visit the school I would, in the meantime, like to know if this school’s ethos will be enhanced by such a post and, if so whether consideration should be given to their recruitment across all schools.


Reply from Councillor Orhan:


There isn’t really anything more I can add to that already included in my written response.  Schools are responsible for managing their own budgets and will take their own decisions on how funding is spent.  The facts in relation to this case are set out in my written response.


Question 26 (Delivery of Primary School Places) Councillor Hasan to Councillor Orhan, Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection


Can the Cabinet Member advise if she will be writing to the new Secretary of State for Education, about the challenges facing Enfield in providing sufficient school places?


Reply from Councillor Orhan:


Please be assured that I will be writing to the new minister about the particular challenges faced in Enfield, particularly in light of the reduction in Government funding for education provision.  I hope she will receive my letter with some sympathy and consider approving an increase in funding.


Question 27 (Community & Custom Built Homes) Councillor Neville to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council


What steps are the Council taking to market the community building scheme fund and make sure people know about it?


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


We are in the vanguard of councils on this scheme which the Department of Communities and Local Government has set up.  The Government are due to consult later in the year on extending the scheme and the Council will engage with that consultation process.


Question 28 (Commemoration of the First World War) Councillor Kepez to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council


Can the Leader advise of the plans for commemoration activities, particularly around the 4 August 2014?


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


National ceremonies will be taking place to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I on 4 August 2014 including London and Belgium.  In Enfield we will be holding a commemoration event in Broomfield Park on the same day.


National events are also being organised to commemorate the Battle of Jutland (as part of the war at sea), the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Ypres.


On 11 November 2014 we will commemorate Armistice Day and will be looking, as a Council, to dovetail our activities with key dates.


There is already an exhibition in the Enfield Museum focussed around Enfield’s involvement in the war and in the supply of armaments.


Key dates highlighted for members, on which further notice will be provided, are as follows:


·                Armistice Day 11 November 14

·                Arctic Convoy Remembrance– 15 November 14

·                Holocaust Memorial Day – 27 January 15

·                Armed Forces Day – 27 June 15


Question 29 (CCTV Camera Enforcement) Councillor Neville to Councillor Taylor, Leader of the Council


Does the disagreement between Norman Baker MP (Transport Minister) and Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, affect your view on the use of CCTV camera vehicles and fines for parking enforcement?


Reply from Councillor Taylor:


Whilst I’m not privy to debates in Cabinet, it’s clear that Eric Pickles’ views on this are not unanimously endorsed by motoring organisations or businesses.  The results of the consultation show that some businesses feel CCTV is appropriately used and there is an economic need to enforce parking restrictions.  Other organisations oppose the ban arguing that CCTV is vital to improve safety.  62% of respondents believed that local authority parking enforcement was reasonably applied in their area, which would suggest that.  Norman Baker’s comments are more in line with these views than Eric Pickles.


At this stage the Mayor advised that the 30 minutes permitted for Councillor Questions had ended.  As no extension in time was moved the meeting proceeded to the next item of business.

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