Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 16th October 2019 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Jenny Kay, Democratic Services - telephone (01524) 582065 or email  jkay@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

13.

Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting held on Wednesday, 18th September 2019 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 18th September 2019 were signed by the Chair as a correct record. 

14.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of Urgent Business. 

15.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Councillors of interests in respect of items on this Agenda. 

Councillors are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting). 

Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Councillors should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting. 

In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Councillors are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct. 

 

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest. 

16.

Discussions with Councillor Janice Hanson

Cabinet Member with responsibility for Resources:

 

·         Democratic, civic & mayoral support

·         Elections

·         Customer Services

·         ICT

·         Facilities Management

·         Legal services

·         Human Resources

 

Councillor Janice Hanson has been invited to the meeting for this item. 

Minutes:

Councillor Janice Hanson provided an update on her portfolio.  The areas within the portfolio which were discussed included Legal, ICT and Democratic Services.

 

Resolved: - That Councillor Hanson be thanked for attending the meeting and that the verbal report provided at the meeting be noted. 

17.

Changing to a Committee System pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Democratic Services Manager. 

Minutes:

The Principal Democratic Support Officer advised that, at the last meeting of the Committee, a request had been made for a report upon the process for changing from the existing Cabinet system to a Committee system of governance. (Minute 12 refers). 

 

A report was submitted that informed of the process for changing from the existing Cabinet system to a Committee system of governance. 

 

Resolved: - That report be noted. 

18.

Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities pdf icon PDF 347 KB

The Committee to consider the key themes that have emerged from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities. 

 

The Guidance has not been circulated but is available on the Council’s website link below.  If Councillors require a paper copy please contact Democratic Services prior to the meeting. 

 

A link to NWE’s webinar regarding the Guidance – ‘An Audience with Dr Steph Snape: Bringing Scrutiny To Life’ is provided here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z8F_pnvEso

 

 

Minutes:

The Principal Democratic Support Officer advised the Committee of Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which the City Council must have regard to when exercising its functions.  The Guidance provided advice for senior leaders, members of Overview and Scrutiny Committees, and support officers. 

 

It was noted that a link to North West Employer’s webinar regarding the Guidance – “An Audience with Dr Steph Snape: Bringing Scrutiny To Life” had been made available. 

 

The Committee considered the key issues, cultural, resources, Committee Member issues, power to access information, seeking information from external organisations, planning work and evidence sessions.  The guidance also provided as an appendix details of creating an Executive Scrutiny Protocol and engagement with independent technical advisers. 

 

The Committee considered the Guidance.  It was noted that the Guidance refreshed the understanding of the key principles of scrutiny, as defined by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and underlined by the Statutory Guidance, considered the roles of the function and the tools and techniques for effective scrutiny.  The Committee noted that the Council’s Constitution reflected the issues contained within the Guidance and, as the Constitution was available on the Council’s internet and intranet sites, Members were aware of the issues referred to.  With regard to the Scrutiny Protocol it was noted that this issue had been recently discussed at the informal Cabinet and Scrutiny evening, when the Guidance was considered.  It was the feeling of the Committee that as Cabinet Portfolio Holders were regularly invited and attended meetings of scrutiny there was no need for a protocol to be introduced. 

 

Resolved: - That the oral report be noted. 

19.

Work Programme Report

To consider any issues. 

Minutes:

The Principal Democratic Support Officer updated the Committee on its Work Programme.  It was noted that the Property Portfolio Informal Task Group would hold its first meeting on 22nd October 2019.  Members were also asked to respond to the request for additional information regarding outcomes, issues and accountability prior to arranging a scoping meeting for the proposed Integration of Services Informal Task Group. 

 

The Committee was advised that information on rural issues, provided by Councillor Greenwell, had been circulated to Members of the Committee. 

 

It was reported that the next meeting the Committee would be acting in its capacity as the City Council’s Designated Crime and Disorder Committee in accordance with the Police and Justice Act 2006 and Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Regulations 2009.  Councillor Alistair Sinclair, Cabinet Member and Portfolio Holder with responsibility, had also been invited to attend the meeting to discuss his portfolio, which included, amongst other areas, community safety and emergency planning.  The Committee was asked to submit any questions or queries in advance of the meeting in order for responses to be provided at the meeting. 

The Committee, after considering a number of issues, requested that Member Briefings be provided for all Councillors, as resolved below. 

 

Resolved: -

(1)       That the oral report be noted. 

(2)       That officers be requested to make arrangements for Member Briefings for all Councillors regarding:

·                Community Connectors;

·                The Healthy Villages Initiative.