Response to questions


It was queried why an extra grant for the past two years to assist young people classed as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) to find jobs had been withdrawn this year. Executive Director: People, Grainne Siggins, offered to provide a written response to this question.


Answer to follow



In response to a question about how many Bracknell Forest Libraries were now open as ‘open plus sites’ the Executive Director: Delivery offered to provide a written response following the meeting.


Response: Open+ is currently live at Birch Hill, Great Hollands, Harmans Water and Sandhurst.  We still have a problem with the northern group (Binfield, Whitegrove and Ascot Heath), which were open before the pandemic, but have since had system problems which have also encompassed the public PCs. These problems are under active investigation.


Work is in progress with Crowthorne and Bracknell libraries, but they are more complicated buildings and therefore need bespoke solutions.



Members asked if the SLA (Service Level Agreement) with South Hill Park had been signed and the Executive Director: Delivery explained a specification had been agreed, and was largely being worked to, but the SLA was yet to be signed. It was agreed an update would be provided at the next meeting.


Response: In addition to the answer given on the night, the service level agreement (SLA) wasn’t signed before March 2020. Given the Covid pandemic, the Trust hasn’t been carrying out their normal programme and therefore it wasn’t seen as appropriate at this stage to push for the signing of an SLA, to underpin a programme that clearly isn’t possible. That said, the grant guarantee expires at the end of the 2022-23 budget period and therefore if a new grant award is given, this will be linked to an SLA.



In response to a question about the transfer of land assets, such as playgrounds, from Bracknell Forest Council to Parish/Town Councils in the borough the Executive Director: Delivery agreed to provide a written response.


Response:The programme of transfers are continuing. Although informally it has been said that “the ball was in our court”; this is not correct.  The Deputy Head of Legal has confirmed that the documents for a number of sites are with Bracknell Town Council (BTC) for signing.  Once they are signed by BTC, the council can then complete the transfer as there are no monies involved.


As soon as BTC leases have been completed, the programme will move on to Winkfield Parish Council transfers. It is our understanding that there is a keenness from Winkfield Parish Council for the Bog Lane site to progress as quickly as possible.  Therefore Legal are scheduled to have the title checked to make sure there is nothing in it that would restrict a transfer.  This will be with the Property team early in March 2022.


The order that we are carrying out the transfers are firstly to Bracknell Town Council, then Winkfield Parish Council, then Warfield Parish Council and then Binfield Parish Council.  The rationale for doing them one Parish at a time is to ensure that we have sufficient capacity within the legal service to handle this work.



In response to a query about a parking bay scheme in Bracknell Town it was agreed the Executive Director: Resources would provide a written response.


Answer to follow




It was noted that due to technical issues Councillor Bidwell was unable to ask his question directly during the meeting and this would be followed up outside of the meeting.


Councillor Bidwell’s question was “A follow on from Cllr Gibson’s observation regarding Agency Staff. What controls are in place to ensure that Zero Hour contracts are not in place”


Response: The zero hours contract arrangements could only be possible in Bracknell Forest for staff who are regularly engaged on a casual basis. A six monthly check is undertaken against the casual workers to check their hours of work, employment status and determine whether the regularity of their work should translate to a contract of employment or whether they are genuine casual workers. This way we can prevent zero hour contracts from being used.