Agenda and minutes

Governance Committee
Monday, 24th June, 2019 2.15 pm

Venue: County Hall, Chichester

Contact: Clare Jones on 033 022 22526  Email:  clare.jones@westsussex.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

12.

Declarations of Interest

Members and officers must declare any pecuniary or personalinterest in any business on the agenda. They should also make declarations at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. Consideration should be given to leaving the meeting if the nature of the interest warrants it.  If in doubt please contact Democratic Services before the meeting.

Minutes:

12.1   In accordance with the code of conduct, Mr Burrett and Mr Lanzer declared personal interests in the item on the Pension Advisory Board: Business Plan 2019/20, as deferred members of the West Sussex Local Government Pension Scheme.  Dr Walsh also declared an interest as a member of the Pensions Panel.

13.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 55 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 13 May 2019 (cream paper).

Minutes:

13.1  Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 May 2019 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

14.

New National Scrutiny Guidance pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

Following a request from the Performance and Finance Select Committee and a notice of motion approved at the County Council meeting on 7 June 2019, the Committee is asked to review scrutiny in the light of new national guidance and best practice on scrutiny and consider whether any changes should be made to the Council’s scrutiny arrangements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

14.1   Following a request from the Performance and Finance Select Committee and a motion approved at the County Council meeting on 7 June 2019, the Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) on proposals to review scrutiny in the light of new national guidance and best practice on scrutiny and consider whether any changes should be made to the Council’s scrutiny arrangements.  The Head of Democratic Services informed members that the possibility of the Centre for Public Scrutiny being asked to do a health check of the Council’s scrutiny arrangements was also being explored.

 

14.2   Members welcomed the report and guidance which they felt was timely in the light of comments about scrutiny in the recent Ofsted inspection report on Children’s Services and the recent debate at full Council.  The Committee supported the proposed review and accepted that changes were needed in the approach to scrutiny.

 

14.3   The Leader expressed support for the idea of ‘standing panels’ as set out in paragraph 58(e) on page 24 of the Statutory Guidance, which she felt would enable members to monitor the impact of changes over a period of time.  She also emphasised the importance of members not being overloaded with too much data.  Rather than concentrating on looking at decisions in the Forward Plan, she felt it would be better to look at items when they were first proposed so that potential issues could be picked up earlier when they could be most effectively influenced.

 

14.4   A number of members argued that the Constitution should be amended to require that either the chairman or vice-chairman of a select committee should be from one of the minority parties.  It was felt that this would help a select committee focus on being a critical friend.  There was also a tendency for the roles to be seen as promotion opportunities in the majority party.  It was noted that chairmen and vice-chairmen had a significant role in agenda setting, planning meetings and contributing to the work of the Business Planning Groups which helped to set the approach to scrutiny.

 

14.5   A comment was also made about public perception of the robustness of challenge when chairmen and vice-chairmen were from the majority party.  A suggestion was made that the chairmen and vice-chairmen should be elected by the committee using a secret ballot rather than by full Council on the recommendation of the Leader.  However, the Leader commented that it was more about good quality scrutiny, picking up issues early and the culture of select committees and the way they operated.

 

14.6   A number of other suggestions were made for consideration as part of the review including renaming select committees as scrutiny committees to reflect their function, making sure members appointed to select committees were active contributors to the work of the committee, improving communication of the work of select committees (including through the ‘Connections’ newspaper) and more focused training.  Members also felt there was great value in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Pension Advisory Board: Business Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Report by the Director of Finance and Support Services.

 

The Committee is asked to consider the Pension Advisory Board draft Business Plan and budget for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

15.1   The Committee considered a report by the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes) on the Pension Advisory Board draft Business Plan and budget for 2019/20.

 

15.2  Resolved - That the Business Plan and Budget for the Pension Advisory Board for 2019/20 be approved.

16.

Report of Member Attendance April 2018 to March 2019 pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

As part of its terms of reference the Governance Committee is required to monitor attendance of members at meetings of the County Council and its committees annually.  The Committee is asked to note members’ attendance for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

16.1   The Committee was reminded that, as part of its terms of reference, it is required to monitor attendance of members at meetings of the County Council and its committees annually.  The Committee was asked to note a report by the Director of Law and Assurance on members’ attendance for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

16.2   It was proposed that in future members’ attendance at full Council meetings should show attendance at the morning and afternoon sessions separately and this was agreed.

 

16.3   Resolved –

 

(1)     That members’ attendance at Council, Committee and other meetings for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 be noted; and

 

(2)     That future reports show members’ attendance at morning and afternoon sessions of full Council meetings separately.

17.

Staff Induction Process pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Letter from the Chairman of the Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee.

 

The Committee is asked to note the outcome of the Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee’s monitoring of the staff induction process.

Minutes:

17.1   The Committee was asked to note a letter from the Chairman of the Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee (RAAC) on the outcome of RAAC’s monitoring of the staff induction process (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

17.2   Members noted that the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Change would be reporting to the next meeting of the Committee on staffing matters and the Cultural Board.

 

17.3   Resolved – that the letter be noted.

18.

Proposed Delegation to Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Report by Director of Law and Assurance.

 

The Committee is asked to agree to ask the County Council to amend the Standards Committee’ terms of reference to include a delegation to receive reports from and review the recommendations of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in any instance where it is proposed that the recommendations are not accepted and to make a final decision on the County Council’s response.

 

The Ombudsman has recently asked the County Council to review its decision to not accept the recommendations, so it was timely to enable Governance Committee to consider this delegation prior to County Council on 19 July 2019.

Minutes:

18.1   The Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) on a proposed delegation to the Standards Committee to receive reports from and review the recommendations of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in any instance where it is proposed that the recommendations are not accepted and to make a final decision on the County Council’s response. 

 

18.2   Paragraph 2.3 of the report set out a proposed addition to the terms of reference of the Standards Committee as follows:

 

‘18.    To receive reports from and review the recommendations of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in any instance where it is proposed that the recommendations are not accepted and to make a final decision on the County Council’s response.’

 

18.3  Resolved - That the County Council be asked to amend the Standards Committee’s terms of reference to include the additional paragraph set out in minute 18.2 above.

19.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held at 2.15 p.m. on Monday, 9 September 2019 at County Hall, Chichester.

Minutes:

19.1   The Committee noted that the next meeting would be held at 2.15 p.m. on Monday, 9 September 2019.