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Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public

Minutes:

4.1

Members of the public raised questions as follows:-

 

 

4.2

Nigel Slack

 

 

4.2.1

(a)      In the interest of transparency from all Councillors and stakeholders, including members of the public, will the conference call with Reading Borough Council be recorded, or notes taken to be included in the final published evidence for the Committee?

 

 

 

(b)      In the interest of transparency from all Councillors and stakeholders, including members of the public, will the Committee publish the draft report to be considered at the private meeting on 10th December 2019, as well as the final draft report to be discussed at the public meeting on 18th December 2019?

 

 

4.2.2

The Chair stated that, at the request of Reading Borough Council, the conference call will not be recorded, but notes will be taken of the call, and would be included in the final published evidence for the Committee.  He added that the private meeting to be held on 10th December 2019, would provide an opportunity for the Committee to consider the contents of the final draft report to be discussed at the public meeting on 18th December 2019.

 

 

4.3

Natasha Parry

 

 

4.3.1

(a)      The Committee’s job seems to be to produce design principles  for a modern committee system.  However, I note that in its visits to other councils, the Committee does not appear to have visited any councils currently operating a modern committee system.  Why not?  Having refused to get into any discussion last year (so giving itself an inadequate timeframe for the job that needs doing), is the Council still not taking the task seriously?

 

 

 

(b)      I refer to Section 4 of the report on the visits - despite the Committee discussions taking place solely because of Sheffield communities, I note that community involvement in decision-making, and the importance of all elected Councillors playing a meaningful decision-making role are central issues that the Committee has not even named yet.  I also note from the webcast that the Committee spent only five minutes on 691 responses to its short online consultation, and that every single witness last week appears to have highlighted the importance of mechanisms for community involvement in decision-making.  Why has the Committee not yet named these core issues?

 

 

 

(c)      From the webcasts available, there seems to be a disproportionate concentration on the question of something called ‘pre-decision scrutiny’.  This appears to reflect the particular interests of some individual scrutiny committee members.  On the other hand, I have not yet seen the Committee discuss how it intends to amplify the voices and concerns of the public.  How will it?

 

 

4.3.2

The Chair stated that the Committee had, or would be talking to, a range of councils, including Cheshire East and Reading, who either had moved to, or were in the process of moving to, a committee system. The Chair added that the Committee was taking its task, to develop a set of principles that should underpin any future governance structure, very seriously, and had spent considerable time considering the issues highlighted. The final report would set out the Committee’s findings on these and other issues.