Venue: Committee Room A - County Hall, Llandrindod Wells, Powys. View directions
Contact: Carol Johnson 01597 826206
Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors L V Corfield, J R Jones and D Jones-Poston.
To authorise the Chair to sign the minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee as a correct record.
The Chair was authorised to sign the minutes of the meeting held on 21st February, 2017 as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
To receive and consider declarations of interests from Members relating to items to be considered on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
The election of a Vice Chair had been excluded from the Agenda, but due to the apologies received it was agreed that this would be added to the next Agenda.
To consider the report from the Head of Democratic Services.
The Committee considered the report from the Head of Democratic Services [copy filed with the signed minutes].
1. Democratic Services Committee [DSC] function and work to date
The Committee noted the functions of the Committee, as agreed in July 2012. It was noted that its only function, as set out in the Constitution, was to consider family absences of Members. Officers advised that its functions should be clearly identified in the Constitution.
The Head of Democratic Services advised of the range of functions DSCs undertook within five other local authorities. A number of authorities limited the functions of their Committees to those functions set out in the Local Government Measure 2011. These would need inclusion in the Council’s list of functions for the Committee in addition to the current function as set out in the Constitution. However some had included other functions for its Committee which were considered. Members considered that the Committee needed to be more aspirational and ambitious.
There was also a need to clarify which roles would be decided by the Committee and which items would be recommendations to Council. It was suggested that the Development and Monitoring of the Member Development Programme should be the role of the Committee whilst reviews of the Constitution would be a recommendation to the Council for approval. The Committee could also consider proposed Welsh Government legislation, but would only consider the proposals as they related to Members’ roles and functions, development or support. The Committee could in addition consider proposals by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales in relation to Members’ salaries and expenses.
Another role identified would be the nomination of a Member Development Champion. The appointment of champions was the role of the Leader but the Committee could make a nomination to the Leader for consideration.
In response to comments the Committee noted that:
· a Member Development Programme would be developed providing Members with a range of opportunities to consider issues and also Members would be asked what skills training they required. Training on equalities would be included in the programme.
· In preparing for the submission to renew the Member Support and Development Charter to the WLGA the Council should consider whether the support provided to members should be expanded to include such items as postage for constituency work, workspaces for Members in other buildings and hire of other buildings for surgeries as well as the provision of a casework system.
· Pre-scrutiny of issues prior to decisions by Cabinet had been introduced last year and was an essential part of the decision making process. The Welsh Audit Office [WAO] had indicated that the Cabinet should produce an eight month Work Programme. The Solicitor advised that the Cabinet was developing its vision and this and the Work Programme should be available from January 2018. Officers considered it would be appropriate to revisit the effectiveness of the pre-decision scrutiny process after January 2018 It was noted that the scrutiny model used by the Welsh Assembly where Assembly Members could send ... view the full minutes text for item 4.