To answer Open Questions asked by Members of the Council under Part 4A, Rule No. 13.7 of the Council’s Procedure Rules.
The Chairman invited the Minority Group Leaders to ask a question each, prior to the consideration of questions that had been placed in the Open Questions receptacle.
1. Councillor Zerny asked a question about how many of the care homes in Central Bedfordshire were rated as ‘adequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’.
The Executive Member for Social Care and Housing advised that of 33 care homes in Central Bedfordshire, 8 were currently assessed as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’, 3 ‘inadequate’ and 5 rated as ‘requires improvement’.
Councillor Zerny asked a supplementary question about Quality Care Control assessments and how the Council works to control care homes that are run by third parties.
The Executive Member for social Care and Housing spoke about visits to care homes and residents concerns about the care provided. Quality Care Control assessments can be effected by the staff availability when inspections take place.
2. Councillor Ryan asked a question about what strategies were in place to eliminate fly tipping.
The Executive Member for Community Services advised that there had been an increase in fly tipping and work was being undertaken with partners and landowners to target hot spots. Emphasis was also being placed on ensuring that the appropriate licence checks were in place when members of the public were paying for their waste to be disposed.
3. Councillor Goodchild asked a question about the closure of Rosewood Court care home and what steps were being taken to attract good quality care providers to the area.
The Executive Member for Social Care and Housing spoke about the measures in place including occupancy rates, the quality of the recruitment process and diligence of feedback from residents.
4. Councillor Hegley asked a question about the number of house building completions and whether the target for the supply of affordable housing was being met.
The Executive Member for Regeneration summarised the number of houses that had been built in the first 3 months of 2017 and the financial pressures that effected the number.
Councillor Hegley referred to the increase in homelessness and the need for affordable housing.
5. Councillor Morris asked a question about illegal encampments and the level of support being provided to the Gypsy and Traveller Enforcement Officer.
The Executive Member for Community Services summarised the increased number of encampments in Central Bedfordshire and continued work with landowners, Town and Parish Councils and neighbouring authorities to reduce issues.
He referred to the work of the Gypsy and traveller Enforcement Officer and the pressures that the post faces and additional support that could be provided.
6. Councillor Lawrence asked a question about the level of support being provided to foster parents of teenage children.
The Executive Member for Social Care and Housing referred to fostering events that she had recently attended to discuss the level of support they obtain. She referred to a range of different levels of support that was in place for foster parents.
7. Councillor Stay asked a question about the impact of illegal traveller encampments.
The Executive Member for Community Services advised on mechanisms in place to eliminate problems arising from illegal encampments.