Agenda item

Questions from the Public


Mr. J. Martin asked (1)  why weren’t the 164 representations dated 23.07.13 ever acknowledged, (2) please confirm they will automatically be carried forward to the new consultation and (3) please confirm green field agricultural land in the Green Belt of High Landscape Value will be excluded from development.


Councillor Lakin, Deputy Leader, confirmed that all valid representations received to the last Sites and Policies consultation have been taken into account in preparing the new draft document for consultation. Where petitions or standard letters were received these have been added to the consultation website against one consultee only; with the comments/points taken into account.


The next version of the Sites and Policies Document released for consultation would be accompanied by a feedback report setting out how all previous representations have been addressed (including petitions/standard letters). Information provided on the website would detail each individual valid representation and the Council’s response.


As all previous comments have been assessed, and the document amended where necessary, comments from previous consultations would not be considered “valid” representations for the next round of consultation. If members of public wish to make further comment, when they have viewed the information, then they were welcome to do so.


In terms of part 2 of the question the Council would acknowledge all receipts received by email or through its consultation website. In order to minimise consultation costs postal or hand delivered representations would not receive an acknowledgement. The Council could provide a written receipt when accepting hand delivered representations upon request. All valid representations received would be taken into account in progressing with the production of the Sites and Policies document.


In terms of part 3 of the question the Council was unable to comment on individual sites ahead of the Sites and Policies document being published for consultation.


(2)  Mr. R. Markham would be issued with a written reply to his question in his absence.


(3)  Ms. J. Kinsey asked how was the Council going to rebuild the reputation of Rotherham and the integrity of its public administration.  Would there be a published action plan?


Councillor Lakin, Deputy Leader, reported that he agreed with Ms. Kinsey’s sentiments, but would deal with her question as part of the Leader’s report as part of the Cabinet minutes.


In a supplementary question Ms. Kinsey asked if all Councillors had heard of Edmund Burke who said “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing” and asked how were they going to ensure the public had good men representing Rotherham Council?


Councillor Lakin, Deputy Leader, referred to his earlier answer and said his later report would address these concerns.


Mrs. C. Martin would be issued with a written reply to her question in her absence.


(5)   Mr. D. Smith asked bearing in mind Sections 13.44 and 13.45 of the Alexis Jay report does this Council believe all those Councillors who were at the November 2004 briefing and the seminar of 2005, where explicit details of Child Sexual exploitation were given, should resign immediately?


Councillor Lakin, Deputy Leader, explained the role of both Councillors and Officers during the period covered by the report of Alexis Jay was being considered.  This would be dealt under the Leader’s report, so details would be given then about the action being taking.


In a supplementary question Mr. D. Smith referred to Sections 13.44 and 13.45 of the Jay report where in 2004 and 2005 a series of presentations on child sexual exploitation were presented to Councillors and other relevant groups and agencies led by the Manager of Risky Business.  The presentation was unambiguous at the nature and extent of the problem and included information relating to a description of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, scale of the problem, exercise of control, drugs, physical force and rape in Rotherham, 25% of such children had used heroin at least once per week, 40% had been raped, 73% had sexual health problems, 33% had attempted suicide, most had self-harmed and a section on perpetrators mentioned an Asian family involved with taxi firms and identified fifty people (forty-five who were Asian, four were White and one Afro-Caribbean).  Attendees were provided with background information listing the know addresses of alleged activity including hotels and takeaways in Rotherham.  It also included taxi companies alleged to be involved and case studies of three girls in total.  Section 13.46 refers to the response to the growing concerns about sexual exploitation in Rotherham no-one who was at these meetings could not have known what was going on.  Reference was made to a Councillor who was present at the seminar in 2005 and a request made as to whether that particular Councillor should reconsider their position.


(6)  Mr. R. Bartle believed that Solicitors were already compiling a case for pecuniary damages and that such damages were anticipated to be substantial, in the millions if not tens of millions and asked could the Council please inform him who would pay the bill?”


Councillor Lakin, Deputy Leader, explained that the Council was aware that it had not safeguarded vulnerable young people as it should have done. The Council had insurance in respect of any personal injury claims it received. All claims were carefully considered by the Council’s insurers, who received external legal advice. Any compensation payments would be made in accordance with the Council’s insurance fund arrangements.


In a supplementary question Mr. R. Bartle asked who was going to pay the extra premiums that would rocket, would it be the taxpayers of Rotherham who were already paying the price for incompetence through D.R.S. and Magna.  How much more were the people of Rotherham expected to pay as the town was already bankrupt surely the Councillors must all now go.