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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Jay Bell, Committee Secretary  Email: jay.bell@sheffield.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.1

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Julie Grocutt, Mark Jones and Sioned Mair-Richards.

 

 

2.

Exclusion of Public and Press

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

2.1

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

 

 

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 129 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

3.1

There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.

 

 

4.

Public Questions and Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1

There were no public question or petitions received.

 

 

5.

Transition to a Committee System Inquiry Session 3 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1

The Committee received verbal submissions from a range of witnesses in order to review any information which would help the Committee make decisions when developing the new Committee System.

 

 

It’s Our City

 

5.2

Ruth Hubbard from It’s Our City attended the meeting virtually and gave a verbal submission to the Committee. A written submission was also circulated to the Committee, prior to the meeting.

 

5.3

Key points to note from Ruth Hubbard’s verbal submission were-

 

  • Sheffield City Council had not been clear enough about the purpose for the governance transition therefore was advised to tell the story of Sheffield’s governance journey.
  • The relationship with the Local Area Committees needed to be clearer.
  • It’s Our City believed Sheffield’s purpose and outcomes should;

-       Build the legitimacy of the Council.

-       Make better decisions.

-       Be more democratic.

-       Improve relationships with Stakeholders and Public.

 

  • Encouraged the Council to deliver strong external communication on the proposed direction of Governance arrangements.

 

  • Sheffield City Council should consider implementing politically proportionate Chairs of Committees.

 

  • The Council should also consider having Co-Chairs of Committees.

 

  • It was mentioned that use of the simplified Governance Principles, which were agreed at a previous Committee, could lead to potential risks.

 

  • The Council should implement a cost-neutral Committee System.

 

  • It was mentioned that phrases such as; ‘Scrutiny’, ‘Call-In’ ‘Overarching’ all referred to the old system. The Council should consider changing the language of functions like these to reflect a new modern Committee System.

 

  • Sheffield City Council needed to engage with Stakeholders more. It was advised that Elected Members along with key stakeholders with interest/investment in this process, could be invited to form part of a Governance Watch Group.

 

5.4

A Members of Committee asked a question and the following response were provided by Ruth Hubbard:-

 

5.5

She believed there was elements within Overview and Scrutiny that formed part of good decision-making although the Council were encouraged to move on from replicating functions that existed in the old system. It was mentioned that functions such as Policy Development and Holding to Account should be retained effectively in the new system.

 

 

Dr Karen Ford

 

5.6

Dr Karen Ford attended the meeting and gave a verbal submission to the Committee. A written submission was also circulated to the Committee, prior to the meeting.

 

5.7

Key points to note from Dr Karen Ford’s verbal submission were-

 

  • It was mentioned that Committees being politically proportionate could be problematic.

 

  • Members being different ages, ethnicities and from different geographical areas should be considered when forming the Committee memberships.

 

  • Asked the Council to consider how Independent Members were elected to Committees.

 

  • Asked the Council to ensure an Overarching Committee doesn’t function like a Cabinet.

 

  • Sheffield City Council could explore having a joint leadership role, which could improve cross party relationships and ways of working.

 

  • The Lord Mayor position should remain, and that Member should act as an ambassador for the city.

 

  • The new Committee System should be more transparent which would lead to better public engagement.

 

6.

Co-Chair Pilot Report pdf icon PDF 374 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1

The Committee received a report of the Director of Legal and Governance which outlined different Councillors’ experiences of Co-Chairing Committees.

 

6.2

A Member of the Committee asked a question and the following response were provided-

 

6.3

The Assistant Director (Governance) explained that the purpose of the report was for the Committee to consider whether implementing Co-Chairs into the new system should occur across all Committees, or if the option would be more flexible and decided on a committee-by-committee basis. The Director of Legal and Governance highlighted the difference between Co-Chairing and job sharing. Each Elected Member would have a full job if they were to Co-Chair a Committee. Alternatively, if there was an Elected Member job share, the Director of Legal and Governance believed both Members would be put forward together to Co-Chair a Committee doing part of the role each.

 

6.4

Concerns were raised around the continuity and consistency of Co-Chairs. It was mentioned that Members may wish to carry out tasks differently therefore there needed to be clear division of workload to not complicate the role.

 

6.5

Members of the Committee discussed the potential for having more than two Co-Chairs. Also, whether a Member could step into the Chair/Co-Chair role, if a current Chair was away from work for some time.

 

6.6

RESOLVED: That the Committee agreed to (1) Build the opportunity for job shares into the Committee’s plans when it recommends a governance structure to Council;

 

(2) Ensure that any job sharing arrangement is supported by a job-share protocol in or with the constitution, potentially modelled on Brighton and Hove’s; and

 

(3) Evaluate the effectiveness of any job shared roles within the first 12 months, alongside the evaluation of the effectiveness of the new governance model as a whole, and adjust the council’s approach accordingly.

 

 

7.

Transitional Committees Lessons Learnt pdf icon PDF 461 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1

The Committee received a report of the Director of Legal and Governance which set out the initial learning to date from Transitional Committees, which began meeting formally in October 2021.

 

7.2

The Committee were asked to make comments on the progress of Transitional Committees to date. The Committee should also use the information to inform the development of the Committee System model.

 

7.3

A Member of the Committee asked a question and the following response were provided-

 

7.4

The Head of Policy and Partnerships informed the Committee there needed to be a focus on what each Committee is responsible for, and this should be considered when deciding the total number of Policy Committees and how often they meet within the new system.

 

7.5

A Transitional Committee Chair informed the Committee that they were pleased with how their Transitional Committee had been operating so far. It was mentioned that 3 specific areas of work had been targeted which was appropriate to the limited time the Transitional Committees had to operate.

 

7.6

The Head of Policy and Partnerships thanked Members, along with Officers who had been part of the Transitional Committees functionality.

 

7.7

RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the learning from the Transitional Committees and uses it to inform the development of the Committee system model.

 

 

8.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 22 December 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 22 December 2021.