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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Sheffield, S1 2HH. View directions


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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An apology for absence were received from Councillor Mike Levery.



Exclusion of Public and Press

To identify items where resolutions may be moved to exclude the press and public.

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No items were identified where resolutions may be moved to exclude the press and public.



Declarations of Interest

Members to declare any interests they have in the business to be considered at the meeting.

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There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.



Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 9 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 7 July 2021.

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The minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2021 were approved as a correct record.



Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public.

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There were no public questions or petitions received.



Governance Committee Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Report of the Director of Legal and Governance.


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The terms of reference were provided to Members of the Governance Committee in order to understand the remit of the Committee.


The Assistant Director (Governance), Alexander Polak, mentioned that the Terms of Reference for the Governance Committee were highlighted in the report at paragraph 3.1 and asked the committee if they had any comments.


Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards requested that paragraph (b) be amended by removing the wording ‘as it thinks fit’.




(1) that the committee notes the terms of reference be added to the constitution; and

(2) that the terms of reference for the Governance Committee be approved as follows; 


(a)  To guide the Council’s transition to a committee system of governance and to set the parameters for stakeholder engagement.


(b)  To seek input from outside the organisation, ensuring citizens are engaged and are provided with opportunities to help shape this programme of work.


(c)  To have oversight of the work carried out in the Transition to Committees programme.

(d)   To review proposals for a modern committee structure and approve the recommendations to be made to Full Council.


(e)  To keep the Council’s constitutional arrangements under review and consider officers’ proposals for changes to the Constitution.


(f)    To make such recommendations to Full Council as it considers appropriate for ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to achieve the purposes of a committee system of governance.




Programme Update pdf icon PDF 591 KB

Presentation by the Lead Business Change Manager.

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The Assistant Director (Governance) gave a programme update by presentation. The presentation covered:


·       The progress made since 29th July 2021.

·       What the next steps were to ensure progress continues whilst carrying out work on the Programmes, Governance and Support Models and Engagement.

·       A summary of some potential risks and how to mitigate them.

·       What approach will be taken to improve public engagement.


Members of the Committee raised questions and the main points to note were –


Councillor Mark Jones asked what the timeline is for finalising the Communication resource recruited and communications strategy as this programme was still in draft. The Assistant Director (Governance) responded, explaining that the meeting of the next committee will focus on this strategy in more detail, as part of a wider piece of work.


Councillor Mohammed Mahroof asked what staff resource the Council have to ensure this model was in place for May 2022. The Director of Legal and Governance, Gillian Duckworth, explained that an Assistant Director (Governance) has been employed by the Council to specifically lead on this transition. There was also a Programme Team working alongside the Assistant Director (Governance).


Councillor Dawn Dale asked if the staff resource for this transition had been taken from other departments within the Council. The Director of Legal and Governance informed the committee that staff resources have been taken from other departments of the Council.


Councillor Kaltum Rivers asked whether different minority groups would be included in the stakeholder engagement.  Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards added that the racial equality commission aspect also mustn’t be lost. Laurie Brennan responded by informing the Committee that Sheffield could use a wide range of communication platforms to engage the best they can, one being the Sheffield Equality Partnership, which connects to many minority groups.


Councillor Mark Jones asked if it would be possible to request that recommendations be changed if the Committee feels that aspects of the transitioning were not meeting a sufficient standard. The Director of Legal and Governance explained that one purpose of this Committee was to shape how the new Committee System will look from May 2022.  The Governance Committee can decide whether to make alterations where it sees fit. It was mentioned that this system is unlikely to be final even at May 2022 and further change is to be expected after May 2022. Further change would in fact be advisable if the Council is to continuously improve on public engagement.


RESOLVED: that the Committee notes the update.




Design Principles pdf icon PDF 605 KB

Report of the Director of Legal and Governance.


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The Assistant Director (Governance) outlined that the purpose of the report was to affirm the Council’s ambitions for a range of positive outcomes from the forthcoming change of governance to a committee model. The idea of having this in the form of ‘design principles’ would help to guide the design and review of the committee governance model at a future date.


The draft design principles will be subject to ongoing stakeholder engagement and review by the Committee.


The Assistant Director (Governance) explained in 2019, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee was asked by Full Council to work with the Deputy Leader to look at what should be achieved through changing the Council’s decision-making model, and come up with a set of principles that should underpin both of the options that would later be put to the referendum. It was mentioned that those unchanged principles can be found in the report at ‘Appendix 1’. The Committee were therefore invited to consider what changes or additions would be needed before the design principles and ways of working can be agreed as a working draft.


The Assistant Director (Governance) advised that he had suggested two changes to the governance principles recorded in ‘Appendix 1’. The proposed changes can be found in the report at paragraph 3.10.1 and 3.10.2. The Committee were informed that they could also suggest any other changes.


Members of the Committee raised questions and the main points to note were –


Councillor Dawn Dale asked how would Committees and citizens of Sheffield scrutinise, and call-in decisions made by officers? The Assistant Director (Governance) explained that options on how urgent decisions have the appropriate oversight by elected members will be brought to a future meeting for members to agree. There were current Schemes of Delegation that allow officers to make urgent decisions which the Assistant Director (Governance) expects would remain in the new system in an adapted form.


Councillor Mary Lea stated that Cabinet Members would have been consulted in an officer’s decision therefore would that be the same in the new system? The Assistant Director (Governance) mentioned that the system was yet to determine what checks should be in place when officers were dealing with urgent decisions.


Councillor Mark Jones asked why the Assistant Director (Governance) suggested to remove the word ‘Scrutiny’ from ‘Governance Principle 4’. The Assistant Director (Governance) explained how it can be seen as misleading, as the term ‘Scrutiny’ was often used in a technical sense to refer to ‘Overview and Scrutiny’, as well as having a common dictionary meaning. While there was no objection to the common dictionary meaning, it was felt that its inclusion may appear to pre-determine the committee’s later choices about how to treat Overview and Scrutiny in the new system.


Councillor Mark Jones suggested amending principle 15 by adding ‘and review’ to the paragraph.


Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards suggested amending principle 16 by adding ‘why and’ to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Transitional Committees Briefing pdf icon PDF 247 KB

Report of the Director of Legal and Governance.


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The Assistant Director (Governance) outlined that the purpose of the report was to provide a briefing about the intended role of the Transitional Committees and how they fit within the Council’s governance arrangements.


Councillor Sue Alton asked what oversight will the Governance Committee have of Transitional Committees? The Director of Legal and Governance mentioned that the Governance Committee’s role was to focus on the mechanisms of how the Transitional Committees operate and the lessons that can be learned from this and not to oversee what decisions were being made at those Committees. The Assistant Director (Governance) mentioned there will be a number of ways that Transitional Committees feed back to the Governance Committee, the main way will be through Chairs/Vice Chairs of the Transitional Committees as they’re members of the Governance Committee. This will give the Governance Committee the ability to reflect on what mechanisms were and were not working well within the Transitional Committees.


The Committee discussed the advantages of Chair/Vice Chairs holding sessions with members of their respective Committees and then feeding back that information to the appropriate Committee.


RESOLVED: that the Committee noted the Transitional Committee briefing.




Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Wednesday 27th October 2021 in the Town Hall.

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The date of the next meeting will be held on the 27th October 2021 at 2.00 p.m. in the Council Chamber.