A 45-minute period in which members may ask questions of the Leader, Cabinet Members, the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and opposition group leaders excluding the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Development Management Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.
In the absence of the Chairman of the Employment Committee, Councillor Baxter addressed a question to the Leader of the Opposition. He asked whether the Opposition Group Leader, considering the Council had, since December 2017, appointed 11 people outside its recruitment and selection policy with no advert or competitive selection process, thought this was compliant with equalities legislation, the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the principles of natural justice. The Opposition Group Leader stated he did not know the facts, suggesting if that was the case it may be necessary to find out more.
Councillor Dilks asked, given concerns raised during the meeting and elsewhere about the recent appointments of senior staff in the Council, whether it was time to request an accountable and democratic review of the Council’s recruitment procedures.
In the absence of the Chairman of the Employment Committee, the Leader responded that the Employment Committee had been created to enable the opposition to do that. He said that backbench opposition Members, if they had concerns should look at the minutes of the Employment Committee and talk to their group leader. He said that the Council needed the best staff to meet its aspirations and the Council had to be pragmatic about how it got those people to come and work for it.
Councillor Selby asked what Margaret Thatcher had specifically done for the town of Grantham that justified the erection of a statue of her in town without a local referendum on a matter he considered both sensitive and controversial. Councillor Ray Wootten was invited to respond, stating that he was happy to promote a statue for Grantham.
Councillor Sampson asked the Cabinet Member for Housing about the Council’s proposals for the design of future council housing to create dwellings that mitigate the effects of climate change whether they be extreme hot or cold.
The Cabinet Member for Housing stated that the Council was looking at a pipeline of available sites for housing. As part of the same project, different methods of construction were being considered to ensure that the properties were suitable for the future. Architects and designers would be asked to incorporate methods into construction that would reduce heat loss and also reduce the amount of heat coming from the exterior.
Councillor Morgan asked what measures the Council was taking in planning for Brexit, and she asked whether it was appropriate, given the agricultural nature of the district, to be building on prime agricultural land.
The Leader said that the Council would respond to information from Government. He added that whatever the outcome of negotiations, the Council had to trust the Government to make decisions. He said that there was enough on the local agenda and that the Council should wait and see what the Government’s response would be, then the Council could respond.
Councillor Cook referred to recent events held in Cleethorpes to commemorate RAF100, including the benefits they had brought to the local economy, and asked whether there were any similar events planned in South Kesteven. The Chairman of the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee stated that a leaflet was available, which listed all the activities that were planned within the district. The Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy stated that a copy of the leaflet had been circulated to all Councillors, which set out an events calendar of the celebrations that were taking place in the district throughout the year. He added that the climax would be a concert in St. Wulfram’s Church, Grantham at which the Military Wives Choir from RAF Cranwell would be performing.