To consider the recommendations of the Response and Recovery Committee, held on 25 March 2021, relating to proposals to streamline the Strategic Committee structure and a number of minor amendments to the Council’s Constitutional arrangements and Contract Regulations as set out in Appendix B.
Since the date of the meeting, it has been confirmed that the regulations permitting virtual meetings will not be extended and this is the subject of a report which is set out in Item 12 on the agenda. This may require a number of amendments to the proposed calendar of meetings.
Members considered a report at Appendix B of the agenda, which set out recommendations of the Response and Recovery Committee held on 25 March 2021 that sought to streamline the Council’s Strategic Committee structure, through a reduction in the number of Committees from five to three.
Members noted that the proposals were designed to better fit current and anticipated volumes of business, enhance the quality and effectiveness of the decision making process and increase the capacity of Members through the release of time for casework and training and development activities. It would also enable both Members and Officers to better focus on the achievement of corporate priorities.
It was noted that the three Committees, which would replace the established Strategic Committees and the temporary Committees operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, were based on the separation of functions into Place and People based services together with a Committee with oversight of corporate resources and policy direction.
It was proposed that 13 Members would serve on each Committee rather than 11 with the existing structure, which would provide a total of 39 seats, thereby ensuring that almost all Members who might wish to serve on a Strategic Committee could do so while still achieving a reduction from the present total of 55 seats. The political proportionality requirements would be waived to provide sufficient seats to the Conservative Group with a view to all Opposition Spokespersons in receipt of a Special Responsibility Allowance being able to sit on the relevant Committee and also to enable a seat to be allocated to the Member representing the Green Party.
The report also set out a number of proposed changes to the Council’s constitutional arrangements, including the Meeting Procedure Rules and Call-In Procedure Rules as well as a recommendation that the State of the Borough meeting no longer be a formal meeting of Council. A refresh of the Contract Regulations to ensure alignment with amendments to the Public Procurement Regulations following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is also reported.
RESOLVED that –
1. the Corporate and Resources, Place and People Strategic Committees be established with the membership arrangements set out in paragraphs 22-26 and the terms of reference at Annex 1 (of the agenda report) to replace the current Strategic Committees and the temporary Response and Recovery Committee and Culture, Housing, Planning and Environment Committee with effect from the commencement of the 2021/22 Municipal Year;
2. the rules of political proportionality be disapplied in respect of the seats allocated on the Strategic Committees as set out in paragraph 24.
3. the timetable of meetings for the 2021/22 Municipal Year, as set out at Annex 2, of the agenda report, be approved.
4. the Corporate Head of Democratic and Electoral Services, in consultation with the relevant Committee Chairs, be authorised to make any amendments to the timetable of meetings as prove to be necessary during the course of the Municipal Year;
5. the proposals set out at Annexes 4 and 5 of the agenda reportfor changes to the constitutional arrangements and Contract Regulations be approved with effect from the commencement of the 2021/22 Municipal Year; and
6. the Monitoring Officer be authorised to make any further consequential minor changes arising from the proposals set out above as may be required, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Community and Engagement
Members were unanimously in favour of recommendation (2) with regards to political proportionality.
A vote was taken collectively on recommendations (1), (3), (4), (5), and (6) as follows:
For: Councillors Abbas, Abraham, Archer, Arora, Bailey, Bass, Beynon, Fiona Boult, Olivia Boult, Cobbett, Cunningham, Davey, Davis, Dunstone, Durrant, Edwards, Foulder-Hughes, Fram, Gander, George, Goodship, Green, Ha, Heap, Holt, Hughes, Kerr, Kirsch, Lidbetter, Moll, Netley, Ravalia, Ryder-Mills, Schaper, Self, Sheppard, Stuart, Sweeney, Thayalan, Thompson, Tolley, Wehring, White, Wookey, Yoganathan and Young. (46)
Against: None (0).
Abstain: Councillor Falchikov-Sumner (1).