Agenda and draft minutes

Governance Committee - Monday, 9th May, 2022 2.15 pm

Venue: County Hall, Chichester PO19 1RQ

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

Items
No. Item

1.

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:

1.1        No interests declared.

 

2.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 143 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2022 (cream paper).

Minutes:

2.1        Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2022 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

3.

Development of an Executive-Scrutiny Protocol pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

The Committee is asked to agree to the development of an Executive-Scrutiny Protocol, in line with the statutory guidance on overview and scrutiny in local authorities.

Minutes:

3.1        The Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance on the development of an Executive-Scrutiny Protocol, in line with the statutory guidance on overview and scrutiny in local authorities (copy appended to the signed minutes). The report was introduced by the Head of Democratic Services.

 

3.2        The Committee welcomed the proposal to develop the Protocol. Members noted that the national guidance would be helpful to build on the Council’s good practice and emphasised the benefits of early work on policy development and engagement of scrutiny members by the Cabinet. Members considered that a positive culture around scrutiny is important to maintain and felt that national guidance references to member behaviour, while useful, were unlikely to be necessary for the County Council.

 

3.3        Resolved –

 

(1)         That an Executive-Scrutiny Protocol be developed and the process for member engagement be pursued.

 

(2)         That a draft Protocol be presented for approval by the Committee in September 2022.

4.

Member Meetings Update pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

The Governance Committee agreed at the start of the public health emergency to regularly review plans for all formal Council/committee meetings. This update confirms the arrangements currently in place, which reflect what the Committee agreed at its last meeting as well as the more recent easing of Public Health precautions put in place in response to the pandemic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1        The Committee considered an update by the Director of Law and Assurance on member meetings (copy appended to the signed minutes). This update confirmed the arrangements in place, which reflect what the Committee agreed at its last meeting as well as the more recent easing of Public Health precautions.

 

4.2        The report was introduced by the Head of Democratic Services, who highlighted the request by the Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board to introduce webcasting of Board meetings as its agendas cover matters of significant public interest and public-facing council and NHS services.

 

4.3        The Committee agreed to trial the webcasting of Health and Wellbeing Board meetings. A request was made to review the decision not to webcast meetings of the Governance Committee as the viewing figures reported in the appendix to the report were comparable to that of the Health and Wellbeing Board.

 

4.4        Members also discussed virtual and hybrid meeting arrangements. It was recognised that there are some advantages to their use but there was agreement that members should attend the meetings of the full County Council in person to help informal networking and ensure full involvement in the business of the Council.  The differentiation in recording member meeting attendance was also discussed and members considered it best to distinguish between virtual and face to face attendance in meeting minutes.

 

4.5        Members commented on the value of networking opportunities for members on Council Day if they are in person. The Chairman agreed and advised that he would ask for some ideas to assist this to be explored, including member catering.

 

4.6        Resolved

 

(1)        That arrangements for member meetings as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be noted;

 

(2)        That the webcasting viewing figures set out in Appendix 2 to the report be noted; and

 

(3)        That Health and Wellbeing Board meetings be webcast for a one-year trial period.

 

(4)        That a report be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee to enable the review of virtual participation in meetings and the position on webcasting meetings of the Governance Committee.

5.

Report of the Member Development Group pdf icon PDF 124 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:

5.1        The Committee considered a report by the Chairman of the Member Development Group on the work of the Group, member development activities and member training and development priorities and plans (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

5.2        The report was introduced by the Vice-Chairman in his capacity as Chairman of the Group. He advised that a recent re-assessment of the Council’s Charter for Member Development by South East Employers had gone well and that the Council should consider applying for the ‘Charter Plus’. He also highlighted that the remaining eight members who had not yet undertaken the mandatory IT security training had been asked to prioritise its completion as a matter of urgency, which would be followed up.

 

5.3        The Committee welcomed the report and agreed that meaningful evaluation feedback after member development sessions was important. It was noted that the Group would soon discuss various options for this.

 

5.4        Resolved – That the report be noted.

6.

Appointments to Committees, Panels and Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

 

In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, the Committee is asked to appoint members to serve on a number of committees, panels and outside bodies in line with the expressed wishes of the political groups.

Minutes:

6.1        In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, the Committee was asked to appoint members to serve on the committees, panels and outside bodies as set out in the report by the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) in line with the expressed wishes of the political groups.

 

6.2        Resolved – That appointments to committees, panels and South East Employers be approved as set out in the report.

7.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held at 2.15 pm on 6 June 2022 at County Hall, Chichester.

Minutes:

7.1        The Committee noted that the next meeting will be held at 2.15 p.m. on Monday, 6 June 2022.