Agenda item

To Receive a Statement from the Leader of the Council and to Receive Questions and Give Answers on that Statement


Councillor Duncan, Leader of the Council, presented the following statement:




We’re in the midst of unprecedented times, with the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic being felt by Ryedale citizens, businesses and Council staff. The future is uncertain, and while we are working hard to support Ryedale, local government reorganisation will bring about even more change, whether we like or not.


There is lots to do and eyes are on us as Councillors to stay focussed on the key priorities and to fulfil the duties expected of us. It remains my genuine hope that we can put aside our political differences to work together to do what residents, businesses and Council staff need. Petty squabbles, procrastination and political games risk nothing over than damaging the reputation of this Council and undermining our splendid work so far.




Our priority throughout this pandemic is to support the citizens of Ryedale, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk as a result of Covid-19. We are, for example, supporting homeowners and tenants who face financial difficulties and doing what we can to prevent homelessness.


The second national lockdown has also dealt a cruel blow to the district’s businesses who were already struggling to get back on their feet after the first. Our business team has been advising on wider business support and are working around-the-clock to process the latest government grants to help eligible businesses stay afloat and protect jobs. It is expected that 1,200 applications will be made for the mandatory grants alone.


Community help


Once again, Ryedale communities are pulling together to help those who are struggling. Our officers working with volunteers, partners, organisations and networks across the district. There’s a tremendous amount of work going on to make sure that our most vulnerable are supported, that our citizens are following the guidance to keep one another safe and that things continue to run smoothly. It is partnership working at its very best.


New projects


Whilst responding to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic remains a top priority, the Council is not standing still. We continue to innovate and improve the way we do business and improve the quality of life for citizens of Ryedale.


A refreshed website will make it easier for people to find the information they need, a WiFi scheme in the market towns of Pickering, Malton and Helmsley will improve connectivity, and two new Community Civil Enforcement Officers are now in post to support communities and tackle antisocial behaviour to ensure that Ryedale remains a beautiful, clean and safe place to live, work and visit.


Local Government Reorganisation


Following a series of extraordinary Council meetings, Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Scarborough, Selby - and, of course, Ryedale - submitted an outline bid to Government on November 9, making the case for why an ‘East and West’ model is the best way to reorganise local government in the region. Thank you to the 21 Ryedale Councillors who united together, across political lines, to support submission of our bid. I know that for many this was a tough decision.


The model would see Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton join together to form a unitary Council in the west, and Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough join together to form a unitary Council in the east.


Public support for this model is growing. New independent market research has revealed that two thirds of residents prefer an ‘East and West’ model of local government for the North Yorkshire and York region. What is more, Ryedale Unison has confirmed there is overwhelming support from our staff.


We are still gathering evidence to support our model and will be submitting the full proposal on December 9. The help, support and assistance of Councillors from all groups is appreciated as we engage with the public on this matter. While there is lots going on, it is important that we use our time, effort and resources to achieve the best outcome we can.


Thank you


I wish to say a public thank you to each and every member of our workforce. Their hard work, determination and resilience during what has been perhaps the toughest year in the history of local government has been remarkable. It is worth remembering that we are a small team at Ryedale, with less than 200 workers delivering everything we do.


It must be acknowledged that there are creaks in the system as the workload increases. I continue to champion our staff throughout this difficult time, and I hope that other Councillors can do so too. Wherever possible, it is vital that we relieve the burden on them rather than add to it.


And finally, I would like to wish all Councillors and your families a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous 2021.


The following questions were received on the Leader’s Statement:


1. From Councillor Raine:


“Reading the statement of our Leader again, even the last minute, I'm really quite concerned with the second paragraph of putting aside our political differences to work together to do what residents, business and Council staff need, petty squabbles etc. and I really am concerned with this. Does Councillor Duncan, expect everybody of different political stances and so on, expect everyone, to agree with everything that he's saying. Because when anybody's trying to question, we are democratic and I honestly think, if we're not allowed to question anything that goes on, and I know everybody on this Council is trying their best for, you know, whoever they're working for, I’m representing Malton. 


May I also mention that today is the International day of people with disabilities. And there's nothing in this statement at all regarding this international day, and I know North Yorkshire County Council have done lots of things and I do know Ryedale do help. I think the biggest thing at the moment is hidden disabilities, which is obviously mental illness, chronic pain, sight and hearing loss, brain injuries, learning difficulties, neurological disorders, to name but a few. And I think it would have been very, very nice to mention just what Ryedale is doing, alongside other councils to help with disabilities for people in our community onthis International day of disability. So, thank you very much. That's what I wanted to say.”



The Leader replied:


“Thank you Councillor Raine for your question. I think first of all, it's just worth saying that the intention of my statement is to encourage where possible for us to work together. Clearly that does not mean that we always agree with one another. We are democratically elected. It's healthy for us to have debate, but that debate needs to be for a productive purpose, which is to represent the views and concerns of our residents and to deliver for them in the very best way that we possibly can. Unfortunately, I think it is fair to say, that we have on occasions, not always been able to be perhaps as productive as we possibly can be. I think generally there is broad agreement across the Council where we want to be. I think our priorities are broadly aligned with each other. But unfortunately, sometimes we seem to get bogged down in the detail rather than the broader purpose, the really important things which the public want and expect us to deliver on their behalf and I don't think anyone should really take offence, unless they do believe that we haven't quite worked in the cross party way which I think the public expects us to do. I think there's elements of that across political groups, not just in my group, but across the Council where there are really good elements of where we have been able to work together.


The second point about the day, which is taking place today, I think it's worth just saying that Ryedale District Council plays a very full and proactive role in supporting people with disabilities. You may have seen that we have promoted heavily on social media just today, celebrating the International Day of People with Disabilities. And you will also see on our website, a full guide that the District Council has produced for helping people with hidden disabilities. You will also see that we are part of the Sunflower Scheme. So, there is lots of work which is ongoing by this Council. And while you may not be aware of that, I think it's wrong to suggest perhaps that we aren't because we most certainly are.


One thing I would also say is that my latest statement cannot reference everything that we do as a Council. It's an impossibility for me to do so. I try to keep the information to the salient points, the most relevant points, and also point out that this statement is written several weeks in advance of the meeting and publicised and shared with members of the Council several weeks before as well.”


2. From Councillor Riby:


I would like to make comments about the Leader's statement followed by questions. If that is okay?


So, the local government reorganisation “whether we like it or not“. I don't like that strong language and the results of him making that strong language. I'd suggest that perhaps he doesn't have the mandate to say whether we like it or not because he is in charge of a group that is in a minority rather than the majority, assuming Councillor Middleton honour their statement in the Gazette and Herald, where she said she was no longer enfranchised with the Conservative Party.


In paragraph two, the idea of followers, the majority of local people we represent do not want to be merged with Scarborough and York, which would make the urban population totally dominant by a ratio 3:1.


In paragraph six, this is a question, a refresh website... I noticed Pickering, Malton and Helmsley are going to get an updated system. I represent Kirkbymoorside. Why is Kirkbymoorside not benefiting from this situation?


I note that we got a letter via the Chief Executive yesterday, I think it was with all the signatories to the letter to the Prime Minister. Strangely enough, this echoed some of the things I've been pleading with our Leader a number of times, and it acknowledges what I'm saying for example, the Government will not enforce the local government reform against the will of the people and also it mentions ratio of rural to urban again.


In paragraph nine, he talks about public support is now growing, and you may have a two to three majority in favour of the population in favour of an East-West split. Well, I don't understand his figures because York is against it. And that's 50% of the East-West split population, and my constituents almost amount to 100% against the merger with York and Scarborough. If you do it, take notice of a poll. Yeah, if you ask the right questions, you get the answers you want. Yeah, I don't think that's good.


Beth Evans clearly stated last night that the officers should be seen to be politically impartial, yet here we have a claim that the opinion of the officers together with the opinion of the Unison endorses the KPMG plan. Which is not I don't think is the correct [phrase] to use. So my question is, do you agree with me that it would be detrimental to the people we represent if they are totally dominated in the partnership with our urban cousins at a ratio of three to one?”


The Leader replied:


Thank you, Councillor Riby I was trying to keep a list of all the questions you're asking there. I think I must have reached at least past 10. So, I will try and address some of the points that you have raised. First and foremost, your formal question there about the domination of the urban areas. It is worth pointing out that the City  of York Council area is less than 50% of the total area of what would be the eastern unitary. It's also worth pointing out that the model, which is in preparation at the moment, and as you may well know, from the member briefing, which took place, is for there to be area committees based on the current boundaries of the district and city authorities. There will be perhaps a devolved budget based on population, based on need for councils in that area to spend on the issues that they see fit on the priorities for that area, which will mean hopefully, that no one area will be able to dominate because there will be in effect these semi-autonomous committees able to make decisions on behalf of local people in their patches.


I think it's also worth just pointing out that you mentioned about the vote and the support on this Council. It's worth pointing out there's 21 votes to 7. 21 members of this Council voted for us to submit that document, including the Leader of your own group, Councillor Riby and the Leaders of many members of groups which are not my own. I could not have got that through the Council relying solely on the members of my group. But it was 21 votes to 7.


I think it's also worth just pointing out as well in terms of our staff, that they are members of the Unison union. They are entitled to form a view on issues that affect their positions. It is right and proper in a democratic society for unions to exist and to express views. That's what they have done and that view was being overwhelmingly in favour of the East West proposal.


What I would say also is that in terms of stopping this process, there is really very little that we can do other than form a constructive optimistic bid to put forward out there to government. Because if not, and if we hadn't gone through this process and had the foresight to have commissioned the piece of work, which we did, and to submit it to government, there would be one option on the table, which would be the proposal from the County Council, and the Government would have one option to take forward. I sense Councillor Riby and I don’t want to put words in your mouth here that you do not feel that the County Council, unitary, one Council serving all of North Yorkshire will be the right solution. Given that, it was the right thing to do, the proper thing to do for us to come up with alternative. We've done that, and it may not be perfect. I actually think it's a really phenomenal proposal, a really fantastic proposal, which we've been able to pull together in a very tight timeframe. Credit to our officers on that front, working across councils, credit to the Leaders, myself included, for working cross party, genuinely cross party on this where the independent and conservative Leaders coming together. So, I think what will be best is, I need the support of all members of this Council. I hope I can get support to take this course forward and make the strongest possible case that we can to central government.”


3. From Councillor Burr:


I’m just picking up on the Leader’s statement where he says ongoing effects of COVID. And obviously this year, it's been extremely tough for everybody for our residents, care homes, hospitals, and our businesses. And in March, we're in a three-month lockdown. And in November, we've just been in another month’s lockdown. Some businesses are really having to put up with an awful lot and people who work in their businesses and I'm particularly worried about our hospitality sector, as I'm sure you are, which does have its impact on tourism, etc., etc. So, would you agree that the Government probably got it wrong when they put us in tier two along with London? And would you agree that it might be worth writing on behalf as Leader from this Council to urge the Prime Minister to put us into tier one? I know that our MP is urging that and I just think that it would be really good if we could work together on this to try and get us down as quickly as possible to tier one.”


The Leader replied:


Thank you, Councilor Burr for that question, which I think is a really pertinent one and a relevant one. What I would say first and foremost is that our Council officers have done a phenomenal job in getting grant funding out the door to businesses which need it. The most recent total that I've been given is that we managed to get out 25 million pounds to businesses in need of assistance across Ryedale. A truly phenomenal effort and they've done it in quick time as well, in many cases working around the clock to get that support and assistance out there. Clearly, there are businesses that have applied for funding and we're working to get through those as quickly as we possibly can. There are some businesses which do not qualify for the strategy element of the funding. But there is the offer of discretionary funding, which we've also made available. So, I think all Councillors will agree that we've done a phenomenal job in doing that and helping in terms of support. Clearly grant funding is one element. Getting back to business is the other element, which we need businesses to be able to do, and for many, tier two is a nightmare situation whereby legally they can reopen, retail can reopen, but some businesses, trade is still down, significantly impacted. We do need to get ourselves back up and running as quickly as we can. I was disappointed by the tier two decision. But clearly, I don't think there's anything that I could do about that or anything that even our Member of Parliament could do about it in terms of that. He is advocating as you know, for a district-by-district approach, not a blanket approach across the whole county, perhaps indicative and representative of the vast area which North Yorkshire covers. And I think it's worth pointing out that the key thing is we need to get our businesses back up and running, back on their feet because grant funding can only go on for so long. We need to get people up and running again.”


Councillor Burr then asked the following supplementary question:


Thank you, so to answer my question, are you going to write a letter for us?”


The Leader then replied:


I mean, I'm happy to write a letter if that's the will of the Council, however, I'm not confident Councillor Burr it’s going to have any material impact whatsoever on the decision making but I'm happy to do that if members want to get in touch with me to articulate their views, and I can formulate something together. I'll be very happy to do that.”


4. From Councillor P Andrews:


“Again I come back to COVID-19 and businesses. This time, to the businesses that have been able to open. Now I understand that a lot of them feel penalised by the fact that the Government has recommended that all payments should be by machine and by card, even for the very smallest items for that expenditure. And they feel that this has put them to some disadvantage as they have to pay considerable fees out to the banks, when debit cards are used. So, my question to the Leader is, would the Leader be prepared to join with me in writing on behalf of Ryedale, a letter to the Prime Minister, perhaps to be included in the other letters he's been asked to write to the Prime Minister, asking to find some way of compensating businesses for the additional bank charges they've had to incur as a result of taking card payments, credit card payments, when they wouldn't otherwise normally have expected to? “


The Leader replied:


Thank you, Councillor Andrews for your question, I have to say my understanding on this is that this is a recommendation. It is guidance and guidelines for businesses to follow are clearly a sensible thing and perhaps the modern way of working as well. Obviously, I'm going to be very busy writing letters to the Prime Minister. You'll see the response I got to my last letter from the Prime Minister, which took several weeks to get a reply to. However, what I will say Councillor Andrews, I'm happy to discuss this with you and see what we might be able to do as a Council. I think it's probably something that's way beyond our remit, but I'm happy to discuss with you further on this topic and see what we might be able to do.”


5. From Councillor J Andrews:


“Thank you for the Leader’s statement Councillor Duncan. It was nice to see the thank you at the end for all that hard work that the staff have been doing to deliver everything that we do for the residents of Ryedale. Would Councillor Duncan strive to ensure that his Government does not freeze local government wages and condemn if the Government did?”


The Leader replied:


Thank you, Councillor Andrews for your question. I'm struggling really to understand it. Given that our pay is set locally, collectively with the trade unions, and we do that every single year, and also given that the wages for Ryedale employees has increased this year as it did the year before. So, I'm struggling to actually see the comparison with the pay freeze perhaps for public sector workers on a national level.”


6. From Councillor Potter:


First, can I just endorse what Councillor Raine said because I represent the views of Pickering residents, not the views of the Conservative Group. And to me these are neither petty squabbles or procrastination, and I also take exception to this statement.


So moving on. Could the Leader please tell me why he would be answering questions directed to the Chair of Planning regarding purely development control?”


The Leader replied:


Thank you, Councillor Potter, I'm not quite sure exactly the question you are asking me. However, if members do have questions about planning policy, and they've put them in as questions on notice, then logically that would be something answered by myself as Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, given that it is within that Committee's remit to decide planning policy for this Council.”


Councillor Potter then asked the following supplementary question:


“So well, therefore, could the Leader and Chair of P&R explain how a decision on a specific planning application relates to planning policy?”


The Leader then replied:


“Only to say again, I'm a little bit lost by Councillor Potter’s question if he has a direct question which he wishes to ask me on planning policy for Ryedale that he's happy to submit a question on notice or bring it to this forum in future. What I would say is that we are Ryedale District Council, and as Leader of this Council, and as Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, I will answer all questions related to policy in the fullest and best way that I possibly can.”


Councillor Potter then asked:


Yeah, another supplementary there Chair, thank you. It's actually referring to pages eight and nine of the agenda, which is going back a couple of meetings. So, could I just asked the Leader without wishing to know the details of how the Conservative Group works does it comply with the Constitution to how his Group decide how to handle questions to the Chair of Planning?”


The Leader then replied


Mr. Chairman, I think I answered Councillor Potter's original question, I've answered his supplementary. Clearly, he isn't entitled to a second supplementary question. But what I would say is that if he has any particular question, he wants to ask me as Chairman of Policy and Resources I'm happy to do so at a future meeting.”


7. From Councillor Clark:


I’m equally someone who's not encouraged when accusations of petty squabbles, procrastination and political gains is made. So, if you're wanting to encourage people to work together, Councillor Duncan, you thank the 21 people in the bottom of the first side of your statement for supporting you. But how many of that 21 would have still supported you, if they'd known that you were about to squander £49,000 on the bid?”


The Leader replied:


Thank you, Councillor Clark for your question. And what I would say first of all, is that clearly, that element of my statement about us trying to work together and some elements of petty squabbling as it has been referred to, does not state who may or may not be responsible for that behavior. We all have to look at how we all operate I think as Councillors in this authority. All of us, in every single group, so I don't think anyone should be taking offence to that statement unless perhaps it does fit any one individual more than another.


What I would say on the vote on the local government reorganisation, clearly 21 members of this Council cross party did vote to submit it. What I would also say has been told to you on several occasions now Councillor Clark in writing, and I believe verbally, that while we did agree at Policy and Resources to allocate up to £49,000 to support the production of our final submission to government, we have not spent £49,000. We have no intention of spending that amount but there was a contingency factored in. And as has been stated to you, on several occasions, I think we are likely to spend up to £15,000 and we may not actually spend that amount of money.


But what I would also say is that it's a slight nonsense situation to support submission of our outline bid and then not support the funding required to bring that outline bid to completion. And the funding that's been allocated from Policy and Resources has been extremely useful to our officers and the officers of the other councils who have worked jointly to make our bid as strong as it possibly can be and to ensure that if our bid is chosen by the government that we can demonstrate Children's Services, Adult Social Care, Public Health and other areas of Council functions can be delivered safely and more effectively than they are at the moment. And I think that is money very well spent by this Council.”.


Councillor Clark then asked the following supplementary question:


And I have a second question later. Bluntly, when the 21 people that you've highlighted, nobody else has Councillor Duncan, the £49,000 was not known. The £49,000 came up later. And if it was only going to be an expenditure of £15,000 why have we put in a tolerance of 270%? i.e. £15,000 might not be enough so we'll tack on another up to £34,000, in case. Can you please justify that?”


The Leader then replied:


“As I think I've explained Councillor Clark, thank you for your supplementary, that this has been an extremely challenging process for everybody concerned. I think for us as members, for our officers who are employees of this Council and for the public as well, the uncertainty which exists. We have approached this in the very best way that we possibly can. We had the foresight, our Chief Executive had the foresight to join with other councils to commission a piece of work, if we hadn't have done that back in July, then we would not be in a position where we could have presented anything to Government. You look at the submissions that Cumbria has put together using the same consultants which we have used. The piece of work which they were able to submit in  outline is significantly weaker than we've been able to submit in outline, because we were ahead of the curve. We were able to work together and we have a plan for submission, that's continued, and I believe that it's been the right thing to do this process. Going back to the figure specifically, there is a contingency in there because given the uncertainty, and we weren't quite sure exactly what we might need to spend certain elements specifically the funding upon, but the decision was taken so we didn't have to go back to Committee and ask for approval, yet again, for that £49,000 to be released. And it was absolutely the right thing for this Council to do.”


8. From Councillor Clark:


You say just in the two paragraphs below that, that two thirds of the people supported the East-West model. How is it that two thirds of the public are so well informed, that two thirds of them support the east west model, when the Council at the moment is not able to do a comparison between the various bids?”


The Leader replied:


“Thank you, Councillor Clark, for your question, clearly referring there to the market research which was conducted by an online panel.  I think it's worth pointing out that the question that people were asked was simply which of these two options do you prefer, on the basis of the information that you have? They were presented with the maps, and they were asked to pick. The choice which they made, two thirds across York and NorthYorkshire was for the East-West proposal, a third for the County Council proposal. And clearly I'm not going to stand here and tell you that you know, I mean, its market research and we know that market research is a sample of the population. We'd like to reach more people. I hope that we can reach more people and there is a portal online for us to do that. But it is market research. Two thirds is a very strong preference and I believe that some elements of the public have taken interest in this and do have the information they need to form a view and that's been clearly expressed in the market research.”


Councillor Clark then asked the following supplementary question:


Councillor Duncan, you've ignored my statements in the question as to how it is that the Council doesn't know. We requested a meeting of Council to look at a comparison between the bids. That was turned down by the Chair of Council because we didn't have the officer time to compare the bids. That's the North Yorkshire bid, the York bid and the East-West bid. How is it that any research market or otherwise, can give anything like an accurate picture, if a Council with all its resources, hasn't done a comparison between the bids?”


The Leader then replied


Thank you, Councillor Clark, for that question. I think it's worth pointing out that we commissioned KPMG to do an appraisal of all of the options, a comparison of all of the options, and they started with ten, they went down to three, and we ended up with one. And they did that comparison on the basis of objective information, gained from all nine local authorities in York and North Yorkshire and overwhelmingly on the basis of that objective analysis, and their conclusion was that the East-West proposal was the strongest proposal and that was against the comparison of the North Yorkshire and York option. So, we have paid quite a lot of money to commission an options appraisal. It's there, it's available, all 130 pages of it for you to read and for members of the public to read. But we did commission that assessment of the options. Clearly, going forward, there are elements of the bids, perhaps, the finer detail of those bids where there will be opportunities to draw comparison. I think that will come at the consultation stage where this Council will be consulted and asked to give a preference on the option which it prefers. And I think at that point in time is the right time for the Council to take a formal view. Clearly your request for a meeting was to the Chairman of Council. I can't speak on behalf of the Chairman of the Council and clearly this is questions on the Leader’s statement. Perhaps, if you wanted to ask the Chair of Council a question, you should have done so on notice.”


9. From Councillor Wass:


“Just to mention to the Leader about the monies paid out which I would like to thank the officers for their help in this and the Leader, who helped me with businesses in Pickering and I know there were businesses in Malton that were struggling.


I don't think it was a complete success though in many ways, because there were businesses that were still struggling in terms of the rateable value, and I was just wondering, obviously, hopefully, we're not going to go on much longer with season lockdowns. But if they are going to continue has the £51,000 rateable value being readdressed for future purposes if we do need them? And the other question was, will Castleview be making a bid in this second round of grants as well?”


The Leader replied:


“Thank you Councillor Wass for your question. I just wanted to say thank you to you and to other members of your group and members of other groups who did approach me as Leader of the Council requesting assistance on behalf of some of their constituents who were facing difficulties in the first lockdown. We were able to get some resolutions on those issues from those approaches which I got, we were able to get cash out to most people although I do recognise that there are some who did struggle and were unable to access cash. We did open up and broaden out the last of the grant scheme to ensure that anybody in need of assistance was eligible to apply with some much less restrictive criteria.


Every single pound of the money which we got from Government went out in that first round, we have got this second round of funding now for the latest lockdown, which we are discharging and hoping to get out, but that the indication we've got is that is the funding pot that we've got. So, clearly if there are further lockdowns, that money may not be enough to see us through that period of time. So, it's a sort of a watch and wait situation.


Unfortunately, I can't talk about specific examples Councillor Wass because I don't know the background detail. But if you want to contact me outside of this meeting I'm happy to try and get that information.


I think it's also worth just pointing out again, that we were able to help people and as members, I do appreciate the approaches that were to me directly as a Leader of the Council, because that's where I think the role of Leader comes into play, where I'm able to have access to the officers, get the answers that we need, so that if you're not getting the answer you need that we can get that out there. So, I think I do thank you again for getting in touch and I would encourage any member of the Council not just on the funding, but on any issue in their ward where they feel they are not getting the response that they need and they want to sort of have a second opinion on that, then please do approach me. Hopefully, people will vouch for me that I will always endeavour to help on case work issues so that we are getting the responses that we need to members of the public.”


10. From Councillor Oxley:


“We're all aware of the issues and the Leader’s highlighted them. However, there's some really good news in the Leader statement and would the Leader agree with me, that in these times of difficulty they are that things like the better Wi-Fi systems for Malton, Pickering and Norton, the engagement of two communities civil enforcement officers who I know have already been out and help people to put things right, that they are the sort of issues that we ought to be talking about as well. Not just worrying about the bigger issues to do with the pandemic.”?


The Leader replied:


Thank you Councillor Oxley for your question. You've asked me if I agree with you, I'm happy to say I do agree with you. Thank you for your question. What I would say is specifically on the issue of the community civil enforcement officers, which we have now in post, are doing a phenomenal job already responding to queries that members have passed on to them and queries that members of the public have raised with them as well. I think this is going to be a massive advantage to us a Council in terms of dealing with issues like dog fouling, antisocial behaviour, and others to try and keep the streets of Ryedale a clean, safe, nice environment for our residents. So, I think is the right thing to do and clearly we also do have those all-important dog warden functions as well, which will allow us to respond to animal welfare and other complaints related to animals.”


11. From Councillor Raine:


“It's basically Councillor Duncan has mentioned again, just in replying to other Councillors regarding this petty squabbles, and you know, the second one was unless it fits an individual more than anyone else. And again, I think we should be all working together and this petty squabble should not be mentioned. And that's my question to Councillor Duncan, saying unless it fits an individual, I don't really think at all is helping us all work together. “


The Leader replied:


“Only to say Mr. Chairman, I don't think there was a specific question there. But what I would point out is that we have so far now spent an hour and ten minutes and all that we've been able to do is approve three sets of minutes so far and the substantial items on the agenda of which are great importance to the public, we have not yet been able to touch a single one of those. And I think that does perhaps put into perspective, sometimes the public expects us to be here and delivering on their behalf. And that's what I'm here to do, what I am trying to promote us to do, so that we don't get ourselves in a bit of a tiz about things which in the grand scheme of things the public do not care about. That is not to diminish the role of any member representing their constituents. I want us to represent our constituents and that is why I want us to be able to get into the items of substance where there are clear differences of opinion, that's what I want to encourage is to have the proper and full debate as a Council but unfortunately, sometimes we seem to get ourselves stuck in the mud a little bit with the mundane items rather than cracking on with the things that the public truly care about.”


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