To receive questions from members of the public who wish to ask a general question in respect of matters within the Council’s area of responsibility or influence.
Subject to the Chair’s discretion, members of the public may ask one question and one supplementary question, which should relate to the original question and answer received.
Councillors may also ask questions under this agenda item.
A question was received from Councillor Ball who asked where the non-compliant vehicles go now that buses within Sheffield had to comply with the clean air scheme?
The Leader explained that Rotherham had its own clean air mandate as part of the agreement with Sheffield and did not foresee the concentration of those buses as being an issue within Rotherham. Rotherham are likely to be the first place in South Yorkshire to introduce a fleet of EV buses which are expected to arrive next year.
The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health explained it was important that the Council did what it could do to negate the impact of unclean air as they were fully aware that polluted air did have an impact on people’s health.
In his supplementary Councillor Ball noted that Rotherham bus station was quite a condensed space and queried if air monitors could be added to monitor the emissions.
The Leader said he would need to find out if this was possible and would provide a written answer.
A question was received from Councillor Mills. He began by noting the shocking documentary that aired recently about child sexual exploitation which heavily featured Rotherham Council. He then asked how the Council expected the survivors to trust the Council and Councillors that he felt failed to speak out.
The Leader said the revelations within the documentary were no less shocking than they were 8 years ago, however, they came out through a piece of work that was commissioned by the Labour Councillors at that time, who wanted to put it right. Lots of actions were taken over those 8 years, with a series of measures put in place to assure the Council’s practices. The Council worked with the National Crime Agency to ensure that all those let down in the past had access to justice and the support services that had been commissioned. He understood that these measures would not make it easy for someone who had been let down in the past to trust the Council, however, they would continue to take the right steps to ensure services were right and to work towards minimising and preventing the risk of it happening again in the future.
In his supplementary Councill Mills said he felt Councillors who had failed to speak out were afraid of being called racist and were afraid of speaking out and protecting vulnerable children. He queried if the Councillors would be apologising for their lack of action and would they be made to resign so that survivors could being to trust the Council again.
The Leader explained that Councillors who were appointed during that time, went through an intense period of scrutiny. Out of that scrutiny a number of Members voluntarily stood down or were stood aside at that time. Those who remained were trusted by the Party and those in their Wards who re-elected them on 2 occasions. In a democracy that was the right way for it to be determined. He did not foresee that they would be stepping down. He believed that all of them had apologised for the failings of the whole Council and all of those people had also been at the heart of putting things right within the Council to ensure the Council was in a better place.