Agenda item

Leader's Question Time


The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Fletcher, stated that he had never missed a meeting of Clitheroe Town Council and could say with confidence that the Town Council were not consulted regarding the works that have recently taken place on King Street.  Councillor Fletcher asked the Leader if Ribble Valley Borough Council were consulted, and if not, when and how were the Council informed.


The Leader confirmed that the Council was not consulted.  He advised that the Council received a standard letter from Lancashire County Council confirming that works were going to take place.  The letter was received approximately one week before work commenced.


In a supplementary question, Councillor Fletcher asked if the Leader would agree that the lack of communication from Lancashire County Council does not bode well for any future, hypothetical, collaborative projects.


The Leader confirmed that he attends the Lancashire Leaders Meeting and he has asked for this to be put on the agenda for Lancashire 2050.


Next Councillor Fletcher noted that the Council has worked hard to publicise the new requirements for voter ID in the upcoming elections, and to provide the opportunity for those without ID to obtain it free of charge.  However, he noted that, at national level, the take up of such schemes appears to be very low.  He asked the Leader if the Government should be doing more if they actually want people to vote.  He also asked how many applications for voter ID had the Council received so far.


The Leader confirmed that the Government has launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the need for voter ID in advance of the elections in May 2023.  He understood that this will include television adverts and advertising space in newspapers and on billboards.  The Leader assumed that the intensity of this will increase as the elections and the deadlines to apply for a vote authentication certificate approach.  The Leader further confirmed that the Council has received 13 applications for voter authentication certificates to date.


In a supplementary question, Councillor Fletcher noted that those without internet access are currently required to bring photos with them when applying for ID.  He asked if the Council can offer to take these photographs for applicants and to remove a financial impediment for something that is intended to be free.


The Leader stated that the Council is conscious to ensure that all of the electorate is able to obtain a voter authentication certificate if they require one and has already put in place arrangements to allow the election staff to take photographs for applicants.


Finally Councillor Fletcher stated that not only are paper agendas extremely wasteful, if handled injudiciously they may inadvertently allow for the unauthorised sharing of sensitive information.  Given the successful roll-out of new devices, he asked the Leader if the Council could now dispense with paper agendas.


The Leader advised that the Council is committed to ensuring that it is run in an efficient and cost-effective manner and of its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.  Reducing the amount o papers used by the Council as a whole is an important part of this.  The Leader confirmed that since the introduction of ModGov, Members have had the option tor receive agendas and reports electronically and many have taken this option.  He confirmed that the Council will now review the position and a comprehensive report will be brought to Members to consider all the options.