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Agenda item

Party Leaders - report on progress


4.1   Each Party Leader provided an update on their progress.


4.2   Councillor Read,Leader of the Labour Group and Council, provided and update on the progress in the last ten months, key milestones achieved, return of executive powers and more recently further progress through the return of licensing powers and the conclusion of senior staff appointments.  Pre-scrutiny had opened up decision making and democratic accountability and oversight was strengthened through the Constitution Working Group.  A submission had also been made to the Local Boundary Commission as to the shape of the authority from 2020 and beyond.


4.3   Eight more perpetrators in relation to CSE had been convicted and with the investment into Children and Young People’s Services the most vulnerable of children would be protected.


4.4   The Leader would continue to lead budget debates and challenge and improve the lives of residents through the Rotherham Together Partnership and the four partnership boards.


4.5   The legal challenge by Derbyshire County Council was putting the City Region Mayoral election arrangements on hold. The leader was clear that there was only one devolution deal on the table; the one negotiated with neighbouring closest local authorities.  The best deal for Rotherham was the one the Council had negotiated before.  The opportunities and prosperity of the Sheffield City Region was paying dividends with the securing of the funding for the HE Campus, Pithouse West, Forge Island and the investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Park.


4.6   Councillor Cowles,leader of the UKIP Minority Party, reported on the greater degree of co-operation between two groups, participation in Scrutiny and health care and the opportunities for constructive opposition to input views and aims into decision making processes to benefit the town. Have offered support on matters such as the constitution and showed a willingness to participate. This has helped the opposition to become more constructive and be able to be part of the decision making process.


4.7   The opposition will try to remain well informed and engage with the electorate. As Leader he would get involved in matters outside his ward, like the Leader of the Council.  He will disagree with matters but will try to take each issue on merit which may lead to clashes in the Chamber, but not outside it. There are still areas for criticism, and questioned why no one had been made accountable for CSE following the findings from the Jay and Casey reports.


4.8   Reference was made to the budget and current financial position, along with the need for the implementation of robust controls to be standard practice.  Unachievable budgets had been set which constituted misrepresentation of the financial position of the organisation and it was uncertain if the Secretary of State was aware of this position.


4.9   With regards to demand for services this may not be as complicated as forecasted when numbers were downloaded.


4.10 Commissioner Myers confirmed the Secretary of State was aware of the Council’s financial position as he updated regularly.  He acknowledged the difficulties in forecasting for demand and the difficulties in the financial administration of the Council up to the last two years, and the progress now being made in ensuring the right money was in the right place.