About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Friday, 3 October 2014

17th September 2014 - Cabinet Meeting, by Nigel Slack.

Due to a cock up in room bookings we were attending Cabinet in the reception room at the top of the grand staircase, which allows for better use of microphones and I hope therefore better recording. After the usual housekeeping announcements and apologies for absence and the approval of minutes we moved to public questions.

My first question of the day focussed on the outrageous behaviour of Cllr Jack Clarkson (UKIP) at the last full council meeting. Following the dropping of some leaflets onto the UKIP positions below the public gallery, Cllr Clarkson, in the midst of an emotional debate on the 'no confidence' motion about the PCC, stormed up into the public gallery and, from my position appeared to be trying to assault the member of the public that had dropped the leaflets.

My question raised the need for this type of action to be disciplined as contrary to the council's code of conduct for councillors and whether that would be done by Council or by a member of the public complaining.

The response from Council Leader, Julie Dore was to the effect that normally they would wait for a member of the public to bring it forward in writing. However, since this is essentially what I had done with this question, she would forward the complaint on my behalf.

The audio for this question and answer is below.

My second question was the result of conversations at home around the issues of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation tragedy. I commented that whilst discussing the tragedy of the Rotherham report with friends, I was told that relatives of theirs had a vulnerable child and that Rotherham Council had offered them un-chaperoned taxi travel for their child. They refused and are now thinking they may have had a lucky escape. The question then arises, does Sheffield offer such taxi travel? Is it chaperoned? And are the drivers CRB checked?

The answer from Cllr's Jackie Drayton (Children, Young People and Families) and Isobel Bowler (Culture,Sport and Leisure) was to the effect that the majority of council transport for vulnerable people, young and old, was by in house vehicles and drivers, all appropriately checked. taxi services that were used were also checked and regularly updated and any persons using that service were carefully assessed first. Cllr Bowler (responsible for taxi licensing) commented that Sheffield's licensing procedures were rightly very strict but that there does exist a potential problem more generally because of drivers getting licenses from outside the city, over which she has no control. This needs taking to SCRCA in my opinion.

Full audio below.

Question 3 from me was in respect of a TTIP roadshow being advertised on the city region LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) events calendar. The advertising for the event was unremittingly positive about TTIP and I felt contrary to the comments made on behalf of the council at the last full council meeting. I asked if anyone from council would be attending to offer a more balanced viewpoint. The rsponse from Julie Dore was one of surprise, it seemed this was the first she had heard of the roadshow but commented that she was meeting the CEO of the LEP that afternoon and would make further inquiries.

Full audio is below.

My final question to Cllr Leigh Bramall (Business, Skills and Development) about planning decision made after the fact at the 'Bluecoats' development on Psalter lane was almost sunk when he replied by e-mail the night before. However I commented that the reponse created further questions and asked to meet with him and planning to discuss it further. He agreed.

Full audio below.

To contact, email nrslack@aol.com