40.1 The Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance (copy appended to the signed minutes) which proposed options for achieving savings to offset some of the costs of a new Fire and Rescue Service Scrutiny Committee.
40.2 The Director of Law and Assurance introduced the report, advising that options were given for merging the Planning and Rights of Way Committees, or to merge the chairmanship, in line with the suggestions of the Scrutiny Review Group.
40.3 At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr Whittington addressed the Committee as Chairman of the Rights of Way Committee. He reported that the work of the Chairman of Rights of Way Committee was significant between meetings and benefitted from specialist knowledge, so in reality created a higher workload than might be expected from a Committee which met two or three times a year.
40.4 At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr High addressed the Committee as Chairman of the Planning Committee. He highlighted that Planning Committee had a high workload and a distinct mode of operation, such as site visits. He hoped that more consideration would be given to the potential impact of a merger other than the financial benefit.
40.5 The Committee noted that many other councils had merged their planning and rights of way committees, but wished to have a better understanding of the practical impact of the proposed options and also questioned what other alternative options might be available for offsetting the costs of the new Committee.
40.6 Dr Walsh, seconded by Mr Jones, proposed that option 1, to merge the committees, be endorsed for recommendation to the County Council. The proposal was lost.
40.7 Mr Marshall, seconded by Mr Bradbury, proposed that a decision be deferred until a more qualitative review of impact on functions and a quantification of alternative options to make savings in the Democratic Services budget be provided. The proposal was agreed.
40.8 Resolved – That decision on options be deferred until the Committee receives a further report giving more qualitative review of the impact on functions and a quantification of alternative options to make savings in the Democratic Services budget.