ModernGov

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Boulogne Room - Civic Centre Folkestone. View directions

Items
No. Item

4.

Declarations of interest

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest at the meeting.

5.

Minutes

To consider and approve, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2019.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2019 were approved as a correct record.

6.

Future Governance Arrangements - Options

Minutes:

The Head of Paid Service introduced the item and invited Members to share their reflections following the all Member briefing held on Thursday 21 November.

 

The Working Group Members made points including the following:

 

·         There was concern from Members about the potential loss of the Overview and Scrutiny function, and how the wider role of Scrutiny would be carried out in any changed arrangements.

·         There was no firm view from Members with regard to future Scrutiny arrangements, but a recognition that current arrangements are not satisfactory.  Timings of the meetings should be re-considered, alongside agenda planning for items to allow earlier opportunity to shape and advise during the development of proposals.

·         There was flexibility on how a Scrutiny function could operate in future. There was a balance to be had in ensuring that items put forward were not slowing down decision-making or other committee business.

·         With regard to putting items forward, there was concern that a technical barrier exists at present, in that there was set criteria which had to be met. However, it could work better if there was a higher threshold of members needed (i.e. 10-15) to support the item coming forward, with less of a ‘technical barrier’. The same principles could be applied to the call-in process.

·         It was important to have a mechanism so that the call-in process was not abused.

 

Andrew Campbell and Ian Parry responded to some of the comments, and made points including the following:

 

·         With regard to inviting items for Scrutiny, a Committee System could include a similar provision, so that members of the public could submit topics for inclusion in the forward plan, and Councillors could approach a Committee Chairman to submit items.  Committee’s would also have the ability to set up Sub-Committee’s for more in-depth topics.

·         Scrutiny did not have the same purpose in a Committee system, and the function would operate differently.

·         The call-in provision was designed to catch anything outside of the decision making process. It was not a Political venting system, but was often used inappropriately in that way by many councils.

·         Looking at other authorities operating a Committee system, those with just one Committee tended to keep their O&S committee, whereas those with more than one tended not to have an O&S committee.

·         Current Scrutiny arrangements could be made more effective. Pre-decision Scrutiny was a useful tool, and good Scrutiny can help shape policies via early discussions and the use of task groups.

 

Prior to the meeting, an Advisory Note, which responded to some of the questions raised at the Member Briefing on Thursday 21 November, had been circulated to Members of the Working Group. Andrew Campbell the introduced the paper, highlighting the main points to Members. 

 

David Kitson added that Members needed to fully and carefully consider all potential options and the implications arising, and test proposed options clearly against the underlying reasons for wanting to change the current governance arrangements.  Members agreed that their initial discussions and work of Andrew Campbell could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Consultation

For comment and sign off of the press release.

Minutes:

Following discussions in the previous agenda item, this item was withdrawn from the agenda.