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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

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.1

There were no apologies for absence received.

 

 

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.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 450 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 25 January 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1

The minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2022 were agreed as an accurate record.

 

 

5.

Public Questions and Petitions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1

The Committee received questions from 3 members of the public, prior to the meeting.

 

5.2

Nigel Slack

 

 

Question 1

Page 8 Para 5.3

 

This wording allowed for the Policy Committees to choose not to utilise the local experience and expertise of residents and community groups by making this a matter of flexibility. It would, in my opinion, be better to encourage the use of these resident skills (as well as experts from beyond the city) rather than providing get out clauses. Could 5.3 be rewritten along the following lines?

5.3 The Policy Committees will be expected to involve citizens in their decision making in ways that best suit the circumstances and the issue under consideration... etc.

The details of the resident involvement to be specified as early as possible in the process.

 

In response to question 1, the Chair (Councillor Julie Grocutt) commended this suggestion to the committee for their consideration as it was within its power to make amendments to recommendations. She said that it seemed that such an ‘expectation’ would be entirely within the spirit of the report, as long as the Council aren’t losing sight of the idea that such engagement should be proportionate and tailored to the issue at hand.

 

Question 2

Page 9 Para 6.2.6 Recommendations

Recommendation 4         

 

I am concerned that not all questions to be raised at a Policy Committee Meeting will connect to the agenda but will still be integral to that committee’s role. I have been known to bring issues to Cabinet that are emerging issues and therefore not yet on their radar. The limit expressed in recommendation 4 would prohibit this and raise obstacles to residents raising new issues with a Policy Committee.

How can this omission be addressed without involving a further step in the question process?

 

In response to question 2, The Chair explained the processes outlined in this report added up to a system which would route people to Full Council if they wanted to submit a petition or question about an issue which is not already on a committee agenda. The Chair had raised a query about this and, without pre-empting the committee’s discussion, the Chair thought the Committee should ask officers to look at how we allow these issues to go directly to whichever committee would be decision-maker on the matter at hand. However, the measures which are designed to keep public questions and petitions focused and efficient were also welcome. It was a balancing act and the committee may want to explore this, and perhaps ask officers to do a bit more work on it.

 

Question 3  

Page 10 Para 6.2.6 Recommendations

Recommendation 11

 

The inclusion of the expectation of electronic recording of Councillor votes is welcome, something I have been pushing for since the introduction of the new audio-visual system, and a vital component in the transparency and accountability of the Modern Committee Structure. Will Council undertake to progress this to, at least, the point where all the Policy Committees as well  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Committee System Structure pdf icon PDF 947 KB

Report of the Director of Legal & Governance to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1.1

The Committee received a report of the Director of Legal and Governance concerning the committee system structure.

 

6.1.2

The Assistant Director (Governance), Alexander Polak referred to the report. It was mentioned there was 86 recommendations for the Committee to consider and these were split into 13 sections.

 

6.1.3

The Assistant Director (Governance) would aim to summarise each section, if necessary, before Members of the Committee discussed any recommendations they wished to have a debate on. Members could then propose amendments to the recommendations, where necessary, then vote on that amendment and recommendation.

 

6.1.4

The Assistant Director (Governance) explained there were recommendations in italics within the report. These were recommendations that had previously been agreed in Committee.

 

6.1.5

The Committee were informed that the report had been produced in alignment with the framework and design principles, and that these should continuously be kept in mind when amending the recommendations.

 

 

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT, PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

 

6.2.1

The Assistant Director (Governance) explained the recommendations in this section outlined how the Council intended to engage with citizens, communities and partners immediately, and how the Council also planned to continuously engage in the future.

 

6.2.2

Members of the Committee discussed recommendations 1-13 and the key points to note were: -

 

6.2.3

A Member of the Committee did not believe it was appropriate to only allow public questions / petitions that related to topics on a policy committee agenda. It was stated that questions / petitions on other issues needed to be brought to committees. The Assistant Director (Governance) explained the reason for recommendation 4 was to reduce the amount of volume and time spent in committees.

 

6.2.4

In relation to recommendation 4, a Member of the Committee agreed that public should be allowed to present questions / petitions at policy committees that referred to issues separate to the items on the agenda, as that was their opportunity to input on policy.

 

6.2.5

In relation to recommendation 4, it was stated that questions / petitions that related to other topics should be allowed. This could lead to a particular committee wanting to investigate different issues, not currently on their work programme.

 

6.2.6

It was suggested that the total number of signatures required to trigger a petition debate should be included in recommendation 5, as it is not clear whether that detail had been rescinded. The Assistant Director (Governance) explained that if details like this one had not been specified in the report, then it meant that the detail was to remain the same in the new system. Therefore, the threshold still required 5000 signatures to trigger a debate at Council.

 

6.2.7

It was suggested that recommendation 9 be amended, to make it more clear for the public, on how they contact their Councillor through the Council’s webpage. The Assistant Director (Governance) agreed it needed to be clear, although stated there needed to be balance on how many enquires councillors received direct and what issues could be resolved through other services within the Council. Therefore, Councillors  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 9 March 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 9 March 2022.