To receive any announcements and reports from the Leader of Council and Portfolio Holders.
The Leader reminded members that-
· the LGA Corporate Peer Review had taken place on 1-4 October 2019. Initial feedback had been received and the formal report would be available at the end of October/early November;
· he had written to the Chancellor regarding the lack of Central Government funding for Dorset. The provisional announcement was likely to include additional funding for Education, SEND and Adult Social Care. No figures were yet available but the Chancellor's budget on 5 November 2019 might give more details.
· a brief overview of progress on the 9 cross-Party EAPs was given: Climate Change Emergency, Local Plan for Dorset, Economic Growth and Skills, IT and Digital, Diversity, Inclusion, Relationships with Town and Parish Councils, Leisure Centre Review and Rural Access to Services . Members of all groups had made a positive contribution to the work of the EAPs which illustrated cross-party collaboration. Details of the EAPs' work were now available on the intranet, were regularly updated and played an essential part in creating change at pace. Completion dates would also be added to their forward plans. The LGA Peer Review commented on the cross-party involvement as being positive. The work of the EAPs would be referred to the Cabinet and relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee before being considered by Dorset Council for approval. He thanked members for their involvement and contributions during a challenging and difficult time.
· he was in the process of meeting neighbouring Council Leaders: he had already met with the Leaders of Wiltshire and Hampshire Councils to discuss matters of common interest and these had been well received. Meetings with Somerset, Devon, Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, New Forest and South Somerset Councils were planned.
· he drew attention to awards won by the Council and where it had been praised for its efforts. Details were available on the Dorset Council Website. Although this performance was good, it could be improved and he drew particular attention to the Council's work on climate change where it was rated as one of the top 20 councils in the country. Wiltshire Council were top and he had gained information from its Leader which might help improve Dorset's current performance; and
· a Leader's bulletin would be published the following date.
Cllr N Ireland was glad that the Leader had written to the Chancellor about additional funding and asked whether there had been correspondence with local MPs. The Leader confirmed that his letter had been copied to them and that he had met them to ask for their support in getting a better deal for Dorset.
Cllr R Legg stated that in previous years there had been regular meetings between the Leadership, opposition groups and local MPs. The current cross-party unity could be used to show Dorset as a united authority and should be better funded.
Cllr P Kimber asked for the Leader's letter to be circulated again so that members could lobby the main opposition parties and their leaders. The Leader agreed to provide this again and welcomed any further lobbying efforts.