Agenda item

Protocol on acting outside the ward

To enable the committee to consider the revised protocol.

 

Decision:

That subject to the  amendments put forward by Members, the Committee

recommends that the  2021 revised Member Protocol on Involvement in Other

Wards be adopted.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services introduced a report to enable the Committee to consider the revised protocol.  He provided background information and advised that following recent concerns it had become necessary to re-visit the protocol with a view to making more ‘user-friendly’.  Particular concerns in redrafting the protocol were around the needs to observe geographical representation, voter/councillor representation issues, and the consequences of dissatisfaction with actions taken with lack of recourse The Head of Democratic Services advised that appended to the report was the original protocol from 2011 which had been  approved by the Constitution Committee,  and the revised Member Protocol on Involvement in other wards which was supported by Group Leaders. 

 

            The Head of Democratic Services reported on the main considerations as set out in the revised Member Protocol and said it had been re-written to assist Members in contentious matters.  He referred to the exceptions to the protocol, procedure to be followed, and monitoring.

 

            Councillor Michelle Perfect commented on instances when Town and Community Councillors approached officers of the  County Council directly for information instead of following correct procedures and asked if a procedure could be drafted to address this issue.  The Chief Officer explained that consideration could be given to providing  instructions to County Council officers on how they should respond to a request from individual town and community councillors.  He suggested that any such procedure should also be submitted to County Forum for consideration.

 

            Councillor Mike Peers referred to Appendix 2, section 1, second paragraph, and commenting on the local boundary commission said the sentence “Local Member means the Councillor or one of the two who represent the ward” would not apply if there was a three member ward and suggested that the sentence should read: “Local Member means the Councillor who represents the ward”.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Rob Davies on Appendix 2, paragraph 3.1, regarding agreement between the non-ward member and ward member, the Head of Democratic Services confirmed that this could be by email or telephone to achieve an effective outcome.

           

Councillor David Healey suggested that the Protocol include reference to the risks involved in social media and cited the example of Members potentially becoming involved in matters which were not in their own ward.

 

Councillor David Evans referred to Appendix 2, section 4 - Monitoring, and commenting on a cross-border matter between his Ward and a neighbouring ward he asked for clarification on the circumstances in which Member Services had to be informed of local issues.  Officers responded to the query raised and the Chief Officer suggested that to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, that in future only a breach of the Protocol be recorded rather than instances of compliance.    

 

Councillor Chris Bithell referred to appendix 2, paragraph 1.1, and commented on the involvement of Members in a ward other than their own due to planning matters.  He suggested that in these circumstances there was a need to inform officers in the Planning Department, and any other relevant department, of the case so the appropriate contact details can be provided.

 

The Head of Democratic agreed to include the further amendments put forward by Members.

 

The recommendation in the report was moved by Councillor  Rob Davies and seconded by Councillor David Evans.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That subject to the  amendments put forward by Members, the Committee

recommends that the  2021 revised Member Protocol on Involvement in Other

Wards be adopted.

 

Supporting documents: