LiveThurrock Council - Full Meeting

First published in News Thurrock Gazette: Matt Abbott by , Chief Reporter

This live event has finished

Summary

  • Full council meeting
  • Live from the Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Grays
  • On tonight's agenda:
  • -Report on joint appointments committee
  • -Approval of Council Tax Base
  • -Report on Transformation and Community from Cllr Lynn Worral
  • -Questions from members, including a question to the council leader on the elusive Cllr Kiely

8:50pm

The motion is passed and the meeting is over.

Many thanks for joining us this evening!

See next week's Thurrock Gazette for full reports from tonight's meeting.

8:41pm

Cllr Healy: I welcome the motion but let's not get carried away

8:40pm

Cllr Robert Ray will be supporting the motion. He said: "I believe it is imperative that fiscal responsibility should be across the borough"

Cllr Kent: "Labour have a very good record on budget issues" (He pointed to a good auditors report and that the council has come under budget in the last year)

Cllr Hale: Why should full council become a "super overview and scrutiny committee" 

8:38pm

Cllr Robert Ray will be supporting the motion. He said%

8:30pm

The motion essentially seeks transparency in the budget process.

Cllr Gledhill: This council is not very transparent on budget issues.

8:26pm

Drawing to a close now then the meeting. We're now onto motions. 

Just the one and here it is: http://democracy.thurrock.gov.uk/CmisWebPublic/Binary.ashx?Document=19919

8:26pm

Drawing to a close now then the meeting. We'r

8:23pm

Q8 is a good one. 

Cllr Curtis said: The new chief executive of Basildon hospital and the chair of governors came to a public meeting in the council chamber and had to answer questions there and then.

There is currently a new CQC inspection, looking at the most concerning issues, happening now, which Cllr Curtis hopes will show the hospital is improving.

8:16pm

On Q7, Cllr Morris-Cook said that the out-of-hours repairs service acts on common sense. She argues that there are different perceptions of what constitutes an emergency.

8:11pm

Cllr Ojetola has asked about Freedom of Information queries, particularly those on benefit fraud and detection of benefit fraud.

Cllr Phil Smith said that he is not prepared to disclose ways that the council detects fraud as that would be counter-productive. He said, too that Cllr Ojetola is insinuating that the council are lying in FOI responses. 

8:00pm

A debate going on now between Cllr Halden and Cllr Gerri

8:00pm

A debate going on now between Cllr Halden and Cllr Gerrish. 

Cllr Halden pointing out that one foster placement cost £280,000, with a budget overspend of £3million. He wants to know why so many children are fostered outside of the borough at a high cost.

Cllr Gerrish has said he will discuss this afterwards with Cllr Halden.

7:51pm

Now the typical Labour/Conservative back and forth, following Cllr Anderson's second question.

Kent saying that cuts by central government have led to the council having to make £13million worth of cuts in the borough, he added that the previous Tory administration in Thurrock overspent.

7:47pm

The questions being put, can be seen here:

http://democracy.thurrock.gov.uk/CmisWebPublic/Binary.ashx?Document=19917

7:45pm

Cllr Anderson (leader of the Thurrock Conservative group) is now asking where the council is at with it's investigation into Cllr Kiely's absence.

In response: "The investigation has not been completed so it would be inappropriate to comment."

Cllr Anderson pushed him into a more detailed answer, with no luck.

7:40pm

http://democracy.thurrock.gov.uk/CmisWebPublic/Binary.ashx?Document=19916 Here is Cllr Worrall's report by the way!

7:37pm

Cllr Gledhill has just asked how the elderly who may not be "au fait" with technology will not be disadvantaged by the project. 

Cllr Worrall: "I will not take away the face-to-face contact for residents who need it."

7:35pm

Cllr Worrall (portfolio holder for Transformation and Community) is now presenting her report.

She said: "In an age where people are paying for things on smart phones, Thurrock Council's technology is stuck in the 90s, 80s and sometimes 70s"

This is not value for money for residents she says. (1700 metres of filing cabinets, the telephone system was set up 21 years ago)

So to modernise? Well, they're going to take away the Chief Executive's office and he won't have his own desk. There will also be a "clear desk policy". The top floor of civic offices is being used as a "pathfinder". 

They are looking to update Internet as part of a wider "transformation" project.

7:28pm

This comes as the council tax base (of which a report has just been passed) would help set those business rates.

7:26pm

Some very interesting stuff on business rates from council leader John Kent here. He's discussing how he welcomed the government localising business rates - but is disappointed that the local authority cannot set business rates and will only take 27 per cent of what the council collects in business rates. 

He believes that Thurrock should get to keep more of that to spend on in Thurrock. He welcomes the 27 per cent, but would like it to be more.

7:19pm

Joint appointments committee sees several councillors swapping committee roles. Nothing too significant here.

7:15pm

No announcements from council leader John Kent. 

Cllr Wendy Curtis is now going to present a petition to improve a small play area in Belhus. 110 signatures. 

7:11pm

Appreciation now being shown by members to those associated with the borough who were awarded in the Queen's New Years honours list.

Sheila Hatcher is the only one here, sadly, but a huge congratulations to her. Awarded a British Empire Medal for her work with the Dagenham Girl Pipers.

7:07pm

Cllr Aaron Kiely is not here. Apologies received, apparently.

Though as Cllr Gledhill has just stood up to say, the minutes from the last meeting state that apologies were received from Cllr Kiely, who is not here.

Some dispute over minutes from the last meeting. Amendments moved and seconded, though.

7:02pm

So here we go. The mayor enters and we're underway. 

7:00pm

I'll try to post links to documents being discussed as and when. Here's the first that might be of interest. It's tonight's agenda: http://democracy.thurrock.gov.uk/CmisWebPublic/Binary.ashx?Document=19921

6:55pm

You can get involved in tonight's coverage! We welcome your views and thoughts on things as they happen.

Either leave a comment below which we'll feed into this feed, or tweet us! Tweet at me, @GazetteMatt, or simply include #ThurrockCouncil in your tweets!

6:53pm

Good evening!

So this is it, after a successful pilot last years, this is the next of our live blogs on council meetings.

Tonight it's full council. Never a dull moment, so thank you for joining us.

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