Agenda item

Member Questions

In accordance with Procedural Rule 6 (1&2) replies will be given to questions of which notice has been given  which may be addressed to the Mayor, the Leader of the Council, Portfolio Holders,  the Leader of the Opposition, Chairs of the Standing and Neighbourhood Committees and Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies.

 

Minutes:

In accordance with Procedural Rule 6 (1&2) replies were given to the following questions:

 

 

By                   Councillor Dave Ryder-Mills

 

To                    Councillor Emily Davey

 

Question:

 

How successful has Kingston been during the coronavirus crisis in supporting our homeless with emergency accommodation for rough sleepers?

 

Reply:

 

Thank you to the officers and KCAH and volunteers involved. On 26th March Louise Casey announced that all rough sleepers should be accommodated under the ‘Everyone In’ initiative. Emergency hotel accommodation housed 17 rough sleepers from Kingston in a Surrey Travelodge and 6 in additional space in Cairn House from 27th March. Negotiation resulted in the re-opening of a Kingston Travelodge, and this was completed in Kingston and opened on Sunday 5th April contracting, in its entirety, to provide 60 bedspaces. The 17 people from Surrey were transferred on 5th April. By 7th April, 26 people were housed in the Travelodge and 32 by 9th April and the remainder of those contactable over 10th/11th/12th. Hot food was supplied from 5th April together with breakfast boxes with KCAH providing ongoing support to all residents. An Ethnographic survey has been undertaken of residents housed to understand their backgrounds and how they might best be supported going forward. The Council is working closely with MHCLG and CCG to explore the next stage of support for those housed.

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

By                   Councillor Olly Wehring on behalf of Councillor Zain Abbas

 

To                    Councillor Hilary Gander

 

Question:

 

LIP funding has been withdrawn by the Mayor of London due to TfL’s huge revenue losses. Now the London Streetspace programme has been established, how is Kingston responding to supporting active travel in our local areas and make pedestrian areas more able to accommodate social distancing?

 

 

Reply:

 

Since the changes to TfL’s funding allocation to boroughs was announced, the authority has worked hard to develop a revised programme of works that could address the London-wide and indeed national Streetspace priorities. Bids totalling £5.177m were submitted to TfL, and so far we have successfully been allocated £2.135m (as of 2nd July).  A bid was also made to draw down £100,000 of Active Travel funding from DfT (the maximum allocation in this tranche) and this has been fully awarded.  The largest value part of our bids has been to support the ongoing Go-Cycle programme but the bids also included significant interventions in town centres, low traffic neighbourhoods, and other cycling improvements.  The full revised programme for the first half of this financial year will be considered by Response and Recovery committee on 30 July.

 

By                   Councillor Fiona Boult

 

To                    Councillor Caroline Kerr

 

Question:

 

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis the council has been engaging in proactive screening of people on the shielding list. What proportion of Kingston’s shielded residents have been successfully contacted?

 

Reply:

 

There are currently 5991 on the RBK shielding list of which after checking through additional systems 120 have been identified as deceased. We have contacted all of the remaining 5871 residents (100%). Of these 1171 (20%) have opted out of further contact and the remaining 4700 (80%) have been receiving regular follow up contact or support from the Kingston Stronger Together Support Hub. We have made a total of 10,061 proactive calls including new calls and follow up calls, which we will continue at least until shielding pauses at the end of July.

 

By                   Councillor Falchikov-Sumner

 

To                    Councillor Caroline Kerr

 

Question:

 

Could the leader confirm how many times Contract Standing Orders or Financial regulations / system of delegated responsibility  have been waived in relation to the competitive tendering of services between 5th May 2018 and 22nd March 2020 (please provide copies of the CSO waiver report and commissioning log for each occurance), of these how many times was the Chair of Finance and Partnerships (formally Finance and Contracts) consulted and the waiver reported to the Commissioning Board - as laid out in Part 4D of standing orders - regulation 6?

 

Reply:

 

For the period 5 May 2018 to 28 February 2019, the Contract Standing Orders (CSOs) in place applied to contracts valued at £100k and above. Contract Standing Order 1.2 enabled the Chief Executive to authorise a waiver to the CSOs, in consultation with the relevant Committee Chairs. Between the period 5 May 2018 to 28 February 2019 there were no decisions waiving the requirement for competitive tendering for a contract valued at £100k and above.

 

For the period 1 March 2019 to 22 March 2020, the Contract Regulations in place applied to contracts valued at £150k and above. Under Regulation 6, the Executive Director Corporate and Communities may authorise a waiver to the Regulations in consultation with the Chair of the Finance and Partnerships Committee. All approved waivers are recorded on a corporate register and reported to the Commissioning Governance Board on a quarterly basis. Between the period 1 March 2019 and 22 March 2020, the requirement for competitive tendering was waived on one occasion for a contract valued at £150k or above. This was for the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme contract and the decision was approved in January 2020. The Chair of Finance and Partnerships was consulted and the waiver was reported to the Commissioning Board. The relevant report will be provided to the Councillor via email after the meeting.

 

Councillor Falchikov-Sumner’s Supplementary Question:

 

Thank you for response, however my question has not been answered. I very deliberately asked for information not just in relation to Contract Standing Orders but also the system of delegation for financing.

 

Bearing in mind that I have shown on a number of occasions that the Council has waivered procedures to commission work for prominent Liberal Democrat members and former and sitting Councillors. The Council has awarded work without any formal tendering process of competitive bidding and I have waited 6 months for a reply.

 

Today I released information of £450k worth for Covid grants which have been appropriated without any oversight to companies that do not supply us at all.

 

Ask the leader of the Council to Committee to two things:

1.    Bring back to Finance and Partnerships Committee the information on delegations.

 

2.    Have these instances deferred to the external auditors.

 

Reply:

 

Councillor Caroline Kerr stated that a written reply would be provided if there was a misunderstanding in the question.