Questions to Council 20 Feb 2018 – plus advice for residents

Residents and Councillors can put questions to Council. Find out more about your rights and the benefits. Plus a selection of questions from 20 Feb 2018

Click to download a copy of the 2011 RBWM Constitution

Residents asking questions to Council

The RBWM Constitution allows questions to be asked by both members of the public (you) and Councillors  of Lead Members for Policy Areas.

Your initial question

Your initial question must be phrased as a single question in 60 words

You can use your question typically to find out information about activities, to highlight deficiencies or even to allow the Lead Member to grans stand, either way, your questions and the responses will be in the public domain.

Supplementary question

Once a Lead Councillor has responded to your initial question, you will then be allowed to ask a supplementary question which must relate to something in your initial question or something the Lead Member says in response to your initial question.

The real question is often hidden in the supplementary to prevent the Lead Member from preparing a politically crafted response that tells you nothing i.e. to encourage a more open and honest response that exposes the heart of the matter.

You have 60 seconds to respond to the Lead Member and ask your supplementary question


Section C9.3 says that, “A question may only be asked if notice has been given by delivering it in writing or by electronic mail to the Democratic Services Manager no later than midday, 7 clear working days before the day of the meeting.”

Practically, I would advise that you submit your question 13 days before the meeting to avoid problems. For example, the deadline for submitting questions for the 20 February 2018 meeting was noon on Thursday 7 February 2018.

You should send your question for consideration by the Mayor to Democratic Services Manager at

The next Council Meeting

The best way to find out when the next Council Meeting is by using the Calendar feature on the RBWM website at

NB A recent tactic of the current administration has been to NOT answer questions publicly but promise a response in writing later. Sometimes much later. But don’t be put off as, there are community members who will appear to help you.


Residents’ Rights

You might also be interested in Section 6 of RBWM’s 2011 Constitution entitled, Residents’ Rights which says,

“6.1 Residents have a number of rights in their dealings with the Council. These are set out in more detail in Article 3. Some of these are legal rights, whilst others depend on the Council’s own processes. The local Citizens’ Advice Bureau can advise on individuals’ legal rights. Where members of the public use specific Council services, for example as a parent of a school pupil, or they have additional rights. These are not covered in this Constitution but are available from the service directly.”

“6.2 Residents have the right to:

  • a) Vote at local elections if they are registered;
  • b) Contact their local Councillor about any matters of concern to them;
  • c) Obtain a copy of the Constitution at a reasonable fee;
  • d) Attend meetings of the Council and its Cabinet, Committees, and Panels except where, for example, personal or confidential matters are being discussed;
  • e) Petition to request a referendum on a mayoral form of executive; Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Constitution Part 1 A
  • f) Participate in the Council meeting during public questions, other meetings, speak on planning applications, present petitions and contribute to Scrutiny investigations;
  • g) Complain to the Council about any of its services under the Council’s complaint process ‘Complaining is a Serious Business’ and the ‘Complaints Charter’;
  • h) Find out, from the Cabinet’s forward plan, what major decisions are to be discussed by the Cabinet or decided by the Cabinet or Officers;
  • i) Attend meetings of the Cabinet where key decisions are being discussed or decided;
  • j) Complain to the Ombudsman if they think the Council has not followed its procedures properly. However, they should only do this after using the Council’s own complaints process;
  • k) Complain to the Managing Director if they have evidence which they think shows that a Councillor has not followed the Council’s Code of Conduct;
  • l) Inspect the Council’s accounts and make their views known to the external auditor;
  • m) Any member of the public can ask a local Councillor to refer an issue to the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Panel for consideration (Councillor Call for Action).”

“6.3 The Council welcomes participation by its residents in its work. Further information on your rights as a resident, and residents rights to inspect agendas, and reports and to attend meetings is available from the Democratic Services Manager.”

“6.4 The public also has rights to inspect information held by the Council under the Freedom of Information Act. More information on this is available on the Council’s web site at “



Cllr Da Costa’s question on financial issues related to rough sleepers and the homeless

Initial question to Councillor McWilliams

Can you tell me how many rough sleepers were offered accommodation during the period 1st December 2017 to 1st February 2018, and of those, how many were offered out of borough accommodation?

My supplementary question

The Council received, £1.1m of Flexible Housing Support Grant in 2017/18, which has entirely been used to pay for temporary accommodation and, is set to receive a further £1.2m in 2018/19.

Given that the purpose of the money was to  “support the full range of homelessness services to include employing a homelessness prevention or tenancy support officer” do you think the Council’s Homelessness Strategy failed to plan for residents’ needs and, can you give us a timeline for our new plan, pointing out when third parties and stakeholders & Councillors will be consulted and, how much money will be made available to provide all the services required and procure decent accommodation locally?


NB I will post their responses as soon as I get a transcript of what they said


Cllr Da Costa’s question to Councillor Dudley about the lack of performace of a key review panel

Initial question to Cllr Dudley

The recent public record of the Audit and Performance Review Panel shows: 2 meetings held, 3 meetings withdrawn or cancelled. This means no oversight since September 2017 and until the end of February 2018 (a 5 month gap). Are you content with this, and if so why, or do you see it as a missed opportunity?

My supplementary question

The Audit & Performance Review panel is probably THE key scrutiny panel as it has the power to review just about anything, not just finance and performance. Its pivotal role is augmented by the major and rapid changes the council has been put through and, RBWM’s ambitious programme and plans for the future.

Cllr Dudley you have effectively appointed the Chair and so are responsible for the Chair’s performance

Are you content that the Chair has been receiving the special responsibility allowance since May Council meeting yet only chaired one meeting and, clearly not produced an Agenda for any other meetings?”

NB I will post their responses as soon as I get a transcript of what they said



I hope you found this Blog useful. Come and join the increasing number of residents standing up to work for their community, to build a better place.


Accountably yours,


WWRA Councillor, Wisdom Da Costa, Clewer North, Windsor


This post is part of Cllr Wisdom Da Costa’s regular series of Blogs to inform and empower local residents; as he promised in his election leaflet

The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the West Windsor Residents Association (WWRA).