Agenda item

Public Question Time

To receive any questions from members of the public.


In order for the Committee to provide the fullest answer, questions from the public should be submitted by noon on Friday 5 July 2019.


Where relevant notice of a question has not been given, the person presiding may either choose to give a response at the meeting or respond by undertaking to provide a written response within three working days.


Questions should be submitted to Democratic Services,


(Note:  Public Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes.)


The following questions were received from members of the public:-


Question 1 from a Worthing resident:-


‘I would like to welcome the inclusion of Agenda Item 10, 'Climate Emergency.. Becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030', which I believe is a great step forward, and I hope that the Committee will endorse the proposal. Would the Committee please consider adding a requirement that all Council Strategies and Policies and, perhaps even more importantly, all major Planning Applications submitted to the Councils for determination, should be rigorously assessed against their implications for climate change, and reported upon accordingly?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that as the Council puts forward future plans and policies he hoped that the Council would be considering these points. He advised that the Council was currently putting together the Worthing Local Plan which was a statutory requirement and sustainability would also be considered as part of that process.


A supplementary question was asked regarding the assessment of major applications against the 2030 carbon neutral target.


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that planning applications would be

assessed against the National Planning Policy Framework and the Worthing Local Plan and its associated policies.


Question 2 from a Worthing resident:-


I am concerned about how the councils progress towards carbon neutrality by 2030 is going to be monitored and measured? While these goals are essential and will need a relatively rapid response and application, who will and how will this be assessed and reported on to ensure this report is actually put into action in the declared time frame?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that what gets measured gets done.

Currently, the Councils have entered into an agreement with central government following an invitation that councils make a voluntary pledge to reduce, report on, and publish their emissions on an annual basis. The report before the Committee also suggested the establishment of a Task and Finish Group to monitor these targets internally. This work would be overseen by the Councils Strategic Sustainability Manager.


It was also noted that the councils use an energy billing service held on an electronic

software system which enables the calculation of carbon emissions from energy use. This has enabled the councils to identify a 30% reduction on carbon emissions associated with energy use in buildings since 2012/13 baseline when the online system was first used.


A supplementary question was asked about how residents could check on the Councils progress.


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that this would be reported through the Platform for our Places progress reporting and the Councils Communications Team.


Question 3 from an Adur resident:-

I would like to congratulate the council if it does declare a climate emergency, however, I am concerned that it should not only focus on internal reforms and initiatives. How does the council intend to show leadership and are there plans to promote investment in renewable technologies and initiatives to reach carbon neutral to the councils business partners,suppliers and businesses trading within and from the Adur area.


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that by declaring a climate emergency, the Councils would be showing leadership in the local area. In addition, a number of the commitments in Platforms for our Places provided practical examples of the work currently underway, including a number of solar projects.


Question 4 from a Worthing resident:-


I note that the council is requesting the production of an outline strategy by January 2020 ,at the latest, on how the Councils will work towards the carbon neutral target. Why will it take up to 6 months to draw up a strategy in an emergency situation and in drawing up this strategy will it involve a public consultation and the setting up of an Advisory Committee?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that the Councils were proposing to

toughen up on their targets bringing forward deadlines from 2050 to 2030. It was noted that where the Councils could do things more quickly they would seek to do so.


Question 5 from a Worthing resident:-

Referring to the Report by the Director for the Economy - When you say testing the market (in the first instance), do you mean there was a contract notice published and a formal open/restricted procedure advertised?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that there was a formal contract process with a published Invitation To Tender. The Invitation to Tender was issued online through the Council's tender portal and advertised nationally through arts trade media, Arts Professional.


Question 6 from a Worthing resident:-


Is there a formal scheme for the award of the public funding to the foreseen trust?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that the Council went through an EU procurement process to identify potential bodies who could provide Cultural Services for the town. The Council is now in a position to award the service to a newly constituted Trust formed by the in-house team as the exercise demonstrated that there was no interest from other parties.


There will be a full contract in place between the new body and the Council. This will detail the obligations on both parties and the level of agreed funding for the service.


Questions 7 & 8 form a Worthing resident:-


Was the main difference between separate entity and exclude and the envisaged

independent trust in terms of their technical and financial resources?


Have the state aid implications been assessed?


The Director for the Economy advised that questions were in relation to the matter of

separate entity which was covered in the report. A separate entity, under a specific name, was registered in a fair, open and transparent procurement process. The intent was abundantly clear and that is why Officers feel utterly confident in bringing recommendations to the Committee this evening.


In terms of how state aid consequences have been assessed. Through the procurement process, state aid is considered to be relevant in the context of procurement. The Council had been through a procurement process and Officers full expectation was that if there had been any state aid related issues, they would have been raised during the process and brought before the Committee.


Question 9 from a Worthing resident:-


Why is the Council using a technicality to press ahead with its plans for outsourcing the towns Theatres?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that this question would be answered during consideration of Item 14 on the agenda.


Question 10 from a Worthing resident:-


In relation to Item 14, the independent body won’t be allowed to have a contract if its not legally separate from the Council. Therefore, can the Council make a direct award at the same time as a legally separate body?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that this question would be answered during consideration of Item 14 on the agenda.


Question 11 from a Worthing resident:-


In relation to Item 14, the Council had received legal advice from a Barrister and a

paragraph from their report was included under paragraph 6.2 of the report. Has the

Committee seen the full report and would this be made public?


The Leader of Worthing Borough Council replied that this question would be answered during consideration of Item 14 on the agenda.