Decision Maker: County Council
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
14.1 Further to the decision of the County Council in July to replace County Local Committees with more informal County Local Forums, the Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance and the Director Communities on the proposed pilot arrangements, including a summary of consultation feedback received from county councillors and district, town and parish councils (copy appended to the signed minutes).
14.2 Members were generally supportive of the plans including the proposal to extend the period of the pilot to July 2022 to enable a full year’s trial. It was also felt that holding the virtual session in the winter period made sense. There was agreement to separating out the annual member information and training locality sessions from the three public County Local Forums.
14.3 It was suggested that for the larger rural areas with a number of centres of population in might be better to choose a central location within the district to reduce overall travel for residents and members rather than moving around the district.
14.4 There was some concern that the proposals were too prescriptive in terms of the format of the sessions. For some of the larger districts some members felt a workshop format might work better to enable more locally-focused discussions. The Chairman reassured members that there is flexibility for the chairman of each session to consider with the other members how best to conduct the event, particularly during the pilot year. The benefit of submitting questions in advance was that, for more complex questions, a full response could be given allowing supplementary questions to be raised at the session.
14.5 The proposal for appointing a different chairman for each session was questioned in terms of planning. In order to explore all options during the pilot year it was agreed that two of the Forums (Chichester and Mid Sussex) would hold initial planning meetings involving all the Forum members. For the other five, planning would involve the chairman appointed for the session in advance. In response to a query as to member consultation on decisions between sessions if chairmanship rotates, the Director of Law and Assurance confirmed that there were no decisions for the Forums to take.
14.6 Resolved –
(1) The arrangements for the one-year trial of County Local Forums as set out in paragraphs 2.01 to 2.10 of the report be approved, subject to the Chichester and Mid Sussex County Local Forums holding planning meetings as set out in minute 14.5 above;
(2) That separate annual Locality Sessions should be held, as set out at paragraphs 2.11 to 2.12 of the report;
(3) That the pilot period should extend to the end of July 2022, to enable a full year’s trial; and
(4) That the arrangements be reviewed by September 2022, to determine a new working model for 2022/23 and confirm the necessary resource requirements.
Publication date: 07/10/2021
Date of decision: 24/09/2021
Decided at meeting: 24/09/2021 - Governance Committee