Issue - meetings
To give a progress report and enable the Committee to consider a number of options and make a recommendation to Council.
(a) That the Committee recommends to Council:
- that the number of Overview & Scrutiny Committees be reduced from six to five from the Annual Meeting and,
- a preferred option for the disaggregation of the current Organisational Change Overview & Scrutiny Committee’s responsibilities to the five remaining Overview & Scrutiny committees, based on the four set out in the appendix.
(b) That the Committee recommends to Council the reduction in Members on the five Overview & Scrutiny committees, the Planning Committee and the Constitution & Democratic Services Committee, which will take effect from the Annual Meeting.
The Democratic Services Manager presented a report on the review of committees which, following consultation with Group Leaders, had resulted in the following recommendations:
· To reduce the number of Members on Overview & Scrutiny committees from 15 to 12 and to reduce the number of those committees from six to five by disaggregating the remit of the current Organisational Change Overview & Scrutiny Committee. Group Leaders had asked that four options for sharing the workload amongst the remaining five committees be put to all Members and co-optees.
· To reduce the number of Members on the Planning Committee from 21 (the legal maximum) to 17.
· To reduce the number of Members on the Constitution & Democratic Services Committee from 21 to 16 (not 18 as shown in the report).
All agreed changes would be recommended to Council on 27 February 2020 to take effect from the Annual Meeting.
Due to the low response rate and no clear preference, the Constitution & Democratic Services Committee was asked to select a preferred option from the four in the report.
The Chief Officer (Governance) explained that Group Leaders had recognised the need to improve attendance and participation at meetings, with fair representation of all political groups on the larger committees. Further points raised by Group Leaders had been acknowledged by the Leader who had agreed to reduce the number of Cabinet Members on the Planning Committee.
Copies of the current political balance arrangements were circulated, together with a revision showing the proposed changes excluding the three small committees from the calculation to ensure that the smaller political groups were not disadvantaged. The Chief Officer advised that, under the legislation, any Member voting against the political balance proposals at the Annual Meeting would result in a re-calculation to include the three small committees on which all political groups were currently represented.
Councillor Bithell welcomed the report which would help some political groups to fill their allocations on committees. On reducing the number of Overview & Scrutiny committees, he spoke in support of Option 4 with the theatre moving alongside education and leisure and the North Wales Fire & Rescue Authority (NWFRA) moving to Community & Enterprise.
Councillor Peers spoke in favour of Option 1 having received the highest number of votes from the consultation. He said that the theatre should remain with Corporate Resources and that Economic Development remain with Community & Enterprise, with Public Protection areas - including the NWFRA, Emergency Planning, etc - under Environment to reflect portfolio structures.
In thanking officers for the report, Councillor Heesom spoke in support of Option 1 and the reduced membership, but suggested that the Corporate Resources and Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committees should retain 15 Members each on account of their extended remits.
Councillor Johnson also welcomed the review and the reduction in membership which could help increase participation. In response to comments, the Chief Officer commented on mechanisms to encourage Member engagement such as substitutions, joint committee meetings and Members attending to observe meetings which could provide an opportunity to contribute without ... view the full minutes text for item 23