Agenda and draft minutes

Governance Committee
Monday, 2nd December, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: County Hall, Chichester

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

Items
No. Item

29.

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:

29.1     In accordance with the code of conduct, Mr Lanzer declared a personal interest in the item on the Pension Advisory Board – Chairman Appointment Process, as a deferred member of the Local Government Pension Scheme and in the item on appointments, as a councillor member of South East Employers and a South East Employer member peer.  Dr Walsh declared a personal interest in the item on the Review of County Local Committees as a member and the Leader of Arun District Council.

30.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 139 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2019 (cream paper).

Minutes:

30.1   Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2019 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

31.

Proposals for change - Improving Council Governance pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

The report provides a context for proposals to change governance arrangements for both executive and scrutiny functions. The Committee is asked to consider a number of changes to how decisions are taken by Cabinet and how the Forward Plan of key decisions will be used. Changes are also proposed to meet the need for more effective scrutiny (these include the recommendations of the Scrutiny Review Panel).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

31.1     The Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) which provided a context for proposals to change governance arrangements for both executive and scrutiny functions. The Committee was asked to consider a number of changes to how decisions are taken by Cabinet and how the Forward Plan of key decisions will be used. Changes were also proposed to meet the need for more effective scrutiny (these included the recommendations of the Scrutiny Review Panel).

 

31.2     The Director of Law and Assurance introduced the report and explained that the proposals for change were as a result of concerns expressed about corporate governance in the Commissioner’s findings following the Ofsted inspection into Children’s Services plus the HMI report into the Fire & Rescue Service.  The proposals also took into account the Government’s refreshed guidance on scrutiny which had been examined by the Scrutiny Review Panel whose report was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.  There had also been a health check by the Centre for Public Scrutiny which had been carried out following the Ofsted inspection.

 

31.3     The Director of Law and Assurance commented that there was one matter in which the recommendations differed and that was in relation to scrutiny of the Fire & Rescue Service.  In his view, the Panel’s recommendation that a separate committee should be established would not achieve the stated objectives and would not be in the interests of effective scrutiny.

 

31.4     Mrs Purnell, as Chairman of the Scrutiny Review Panel, introduced the Panel’s report and ran through the recommendations.  In relation to scrutiny of the Fire & Rescue Service she said the Panel was of the view that a separate committee would achieve better scrutiny by giving members an increased knowledge of the service. In the Panel’s view this would be harder to achieve with a large committee dealing with a wider portfolio.

 

31.5     Members considered the recommendations in relation to the executive as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.  The proposals were broadly welcomed but there were requests for the time limits in paragraphs 9 and 10, in relation to contributions by Select Committee chairmen and minority group leaders, to be increased to five minutes.

 

31.6     The Leader commented that having a time limit was important in order to be able to manage the business on the agenda.  He reminded the Committee that members had other opportunities to seek clarity about or raise an issue on matters to be discussed at Cabinet (advance notice of which would be via the Forward Plan) including speaking directly to Cabinet Members.  The changes proposed were about Cabinet individually and collectively making decisions in a transparent way.

 

31.7     After discussion it was agreed that the time limits should be recommended for increase to five minutes in each instance.

 

31.8     It was requested that any member should be able to make a request to the Leader, as chairman of the meeting, to attend and speak at the meeting, as was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Corporate Parenting Panel Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

The Committee is asked to consider changes to the terms of reference of the Corporate Parenting Panel for recommendation to the County Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

32.1     The Committee considered  a report by the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) on changes to the terms of reference of the Corporate Parenting Panel for recommendation to the County Council.

 

32.2     Mrs Jupp expressed disappointment that part of the consultation process was still to be completed.

 

32.3     Resolved –

 

(1)         That the revised terms of reference and constitution of the Corporate Parenting Panel, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be endorsed for recommendation to the County Council; and

 

(2)         That the revised terms of reference be reviewed in six months when further changes may be proposed following engagement with the Children in Care Council.

33.

Review of County Local Committees pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Report by the Working Group Chairman.

The Committee is asked to consider and endorse the conclusions and recommendations of the working group set up by the Committee to carry out a full review of all County Local Committees.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

33.1     The Committee considered report by the Chairman of the Working Group set up by the Committee to carry out a full review of all County Local Committees on its conclusions and recommendations (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

33.2     Mr High, as Chairman of the Working Group, introduced the report and outlined the recommendations.

 

33.3     Members welcomed the report and were generally supportive of the proposals.  Mr Bradbury commented how difficult it was to manage the business of the Central and South Mid Sussex County Local Committee but acknowledged the need to avoid additional costs in terms of resources.

 

33.4     There was some discussion about the merits of Spacehive and whether the process involved deterred organisations from applying.  Members supported the review of the contract, given the recent reduction in funding and the introduction of the new Micro-fund.

 

33.5     Resolved –

 

(1)        That a flexible approach should be taken to CLCs, reflecting differences in the communities they represent: there should not be a one-size fits all approach, and each CLC should be able to run meetings how they wish, including the potential for meetings to be informal or themed around a specific issue. Work programmes should not be rigid and should be adaptable to be able to deal with issues arising during the year. The priority should be on effectiveness not consistency.

 

Structure

 

(2)        That the current configuration of CLCs should be retained, with 11 CLCs covering the same geographical area as at present;

 

(3)        That the County Council divisions of Lindfield & High Weald and Bourne should each continue to cut across two CLCs (so the two members for these divisions should each continue to sit on two CLCs);

 

(4)        That there should continue to be three CLC meetings per year, with the potential to hold extraordinary meetings to respond to significant local issues, supported by the relevant service area (and not requiring Democratic Services’ support);

 

(5)        That the Cabinet Member should liaise with Arun District Council to consider potential improvements to the Joint Area Committees model; whether this is still appropriate and effective and whether any different approaches should be considered;

 

Functions

 

(6)        That as there is no statutory requirement for the nomination of school governors to be approved by members, it is proposed that the Cabinet Member be asked to delegate to the Director for Education and Skills the authority to approve nominations in liaison with the relevant local member and that this change to the CLCs’ terms of reference be forwarded to County Council for approval on 17 December 2019;

 

Meeting arrangements

 

(7)        That Talk with Us sessions should take priority, be early on the agenda and be given as long as possible, with time limitations set at the chairman’s discretion. Where questions are raised in these sessions that there is not an officer present to answer, it will be for local member to take up and get back to the resident;

 

(8)        That there should be an annual Highways-themed meeting which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Pension Advisory Board - Chairman Appointment Process pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Report by the Director of Finance and Support Services and the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

The Committee is asked to consider the appointment process for members of the Board and the independent Chairman for recommendation to the County Council.

Minutes:

34.1     The Committee considered a report by the Director of Finance and Support Services and the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) on the appointment process for members of the Pension Advisory Board and the independent Chairman of the Board.

 

34.2     Members noted that the paragraph reference in recommendation (1) should read ‘paragraphs 2.3, 2.4 and 3.2’.

 

34.3     Resolved –

 

(1)        That the changes set out in paragraphs 2.3, 2.4 and 3.2be endorsed for submission to the Council on 17 December 2019 for approval; and

 

(2)        That, following approval of the changes, the Director of Finance and Support Services and the Director of Law and Assurance be asked to advertise the role of Independent Chairman to the West Sussex Pension Advisory Board and create a shortlist of nominees from which an appointment can be made.

35.

Report of the Member Development Group pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Report by the Chairman of the Member Development Group.

 

To receive the regular report on the work of the Group, member development activities and member training and development priorities and plans.

Minutes:

35.1     The Committee received a report from Chairman on the work of the Group, member development activities and member training and development priorities and plans (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

35.2     Ms Kennard, as Chairman of the Group, introduced the report.

 

35.3     In relation to future Member Days, the Head of Democratic Services informed the Committee that it was hoped to have Adults’ Services and Children’s Services safeguarding training on 29 January 2020 and that on 26 February 2020 the session would be on the Fire & Rescue Service.

 

35.4     A request was made for online training to be used where ever possible, particularly for mandatory.  The Head of Democratic Services commented that take up had been poor when such training had been arranged in the past.  It was suggested that a reminder could be put in The Bulletin.

 

35.5     A plea was made for consideration to be given to video-conferencing Member Days so members who could not get to County Hall could participate.  It was noted that the current video-conferencing room at County Hall was not large enough to accommodate part of a Member Day.  However, Mr Lanzer commented that consideration was being given to extending the functionality of video conferencing so this might be something that the Member Development Group could look at in future.

 

35.6     Resolved – That the report be noted.

36.

Appointments to Committees, Panels and Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Note by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

The Committee is asked to approve changes to appointment on committees, panels and outside bodies in line with the expressed wishes of the political groups. A note by the Director of Law and Assurance and setting out proposals is attached.

Minutes:

36.1     The Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) which, in accordance with the expressed wishes of the political groups, asked it to make changes to appointments on committees, panels and outside bodies.

 

36.2     Resolved – That the changes set out in the report be approved.

37.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held at 2.15 p.m. on Monday, 20 January 2020 at County Hall, Chichester.

Minutes:

37.1     The Committee noted that the next meeting will be held at 2.15 p.m. on Monday, 20 January 2020.