Agenda item - Issues Raised by Councillors and Members of the Board
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Issues Raised by Councillors and Members of the Board
To consider the following matters raised by councillors and Members of the Board:
(a) Petitions – to receive any petitions submitted to the full Council or at the meeting itself;
(b) Written Questions – to consider any written questions;
(c) Letters – to consider any letters;
(d) Notices of Motion – to consider any notices of motion
29.1 The Chair noted that there were no petitions from Councillors or members of the Board.
(b) Written Questions
29.2 Councillor Christina Summers asked the following question:
“As a councillor of one of the northern wards of the city and one that comprises some diverse and quite disparate communities that aren’t necessarily linked geographically, I have been very concerned about what happens to the elderly population during severe winter weather when residential roads become impassable and are not treated by our gritters e.g. Coldean. I am concerned not only about their warmth (threatened further by soaring energy costs) but also their ability to come and go from their homes and safely access local amenities or, alternatively, be themselves accessible to those services that provide their daily needs.
I understand that information identifying who the elderly and vulnerable are and where they live is held by several agencies that may, or may not, work together and share that information. Notwithstanding the enormous legal stumbling blocks that exist preventing someone like myself from accessing that kind of information, could this board nevertheless consider any ways in which a councillor who has been elected by, and called to represent, these residents and who, by definition, works at grass roots level with them might somehow be entrusted with this information or, at the very least, included in any ongoing plans to improve the inclusion and wellbeing of the elderly and vulnerable most particularly during winter time?”
29.3 The Chair gave the following response:
“There are two important issues here: the need to support our most vulnerable residents at a time when there is growing pressure on finite public sector resources; and the need to keep sensitive data about vulnerable people confidential.
The council and its partners do recognise that more needs to be done to support vulnerable adults, particularly over the winter period. It is also clear that this support cannot be provided solely by statutory agencies – there is an increasingly vital role to be played by local communities here.
At the same time, we have to work within stringent legal guidelines for sharing information about vulnerable people, and these do restrict the ways in which we are able to operate.
We are actively exploring how we can appropriately help local communities to support the most vulnerable, and would be very happy to share details of this work with Cllr Summers and other interested ward Councillors, and to explore jointly how elected members might be enabled to take a prominent role in building community resilience in this way.”
29.4 Denise D’Souza referred to the Winter Service Pressures report which would be considered later on the agenda. There were ways the council could help local communities and share information. Tom Scanlon agreed that there were ways that the Council could assist ward councillors in reaching out to local communities.
29.5 Councillor Bowden stated that there already seemed to be informal ways of sharing data. He stressed that ward councillors could not serve their client base unless they were given the fuller picture. Sometimes councillors were given complex case studies from different agencies. There needed to be a discrete way of sharing information in order to help councillors in their work.
29.6 Councillor Summers concurred. She stressed that there needed to be a more preventative approach, rather than reactive work. She wanted ward councillors to be more involved with the wider winter planning work.
29.7 The Chair stated that there would be discussions with directors to see what could be done within the law.
29.8 Councillor Norman commented that the current situation was difficult for both councillors and officers. However, councillors could not expect to get full details of a person’s disabilities and personal circumstances. He considered that it was best to get to know the ward and learn who was disabled and in need. He would not expect to receive detailed information.
29.9 Councillor Summers stressed that she wanted to know where people in need lived rather than receive detailed information.
29.10 The Chair informed the Board that officers would consult with ward councillors to see what was required.
29.11 RESOLVED- That the written question be noted.