Agenda and minutes

Council Business Committee
Thursday, 16th January 2014 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Peter Baines, Democratic Services - 01524 582074 or email  pbaines@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

22.

Minutes

Minutes of meeting held on 12th September 2013 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.

23.

Items of Urgent Business Authorised by the Chairman pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman authorised an item of urgent business, in connection with the announced closure of Skerton Community High School, and reported that the item would be taken after agenda item 5, Councillor Community Leadership Support Programme.

24.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by members of interests in respect of items on this agenda. 

Members 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 10 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, members 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, members 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:

Councillor Hall declared an interest in the urgent business item, the nature of her interest being that she was a governor of Skerton Community High School (minute 26 refers).

25.

Councillor Community Leadership Support Programme pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Minutes:

The Consultation and Engagement Officer introduced a progress report on the Councillor Community Leadership Support Programme, and the Community Leadership Conference planned for June 2014.

 

Having considered the Councillor Led Community Project Pilot, members noted that it required intensive officer support.  Rather than offering that level of support to other councillors, it was agreed that key findings from the pilot should inform a pack, or document, for members’ use. 

 

With regard to the conference, councillors agreed that it should be held on either Saturday 21st June or Saturday 28th June, if at all possible, for the benefit of those councillors in full-time employment who would struggle to attend during the week.  It was agreed that officers would check the viability of those dates with the proposed key-note speaker, and circulate potential dates to the committee by email.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)         That, due to the officer resource implications, the Councillor Led Community Project Pilot should not be rolled out to other councillors; instead, that the Consultation and Engagement Officer be requested to produce a guidance pack for members to use when undertaking community leadership work;

 

(2)          That the Community Leadership Conference be held on either Saturday 21st or 28th June if possible.  Officers would check the dates, and the prospect of a Saturday meeting in general, with the proposed key-note speaker.  A proposed date would be circulated to committee members by email.

 

(3)         That the Community Leadership Conference be confirmed only on the condition that a minimum of 25 city councillors register to attend.

26.

Skerton Community High School Consultation

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced an item of urgent business, in connection with the announced closure of Skerton Community High School.

 

At the Committee’s last meeting in 12 September 2013, Members received an urgent business report to consider Lancashire County Council’s consultation on the possible closure of Skerton Community High School. A consultation response on behalf of the City Council was agreed and submitted to the County Council following the meeting.

 

 On Thursday 16th January 2014, Lancashire County Council issued a public notice of closure, with effect from 31st August 2014, and the start of a six week period within which any person may object to or make comments on the proposals. The reason for urgency was to inform the Committee of the new consultation period as soon as possible.

 

Following discussion, it was agreed that the council should submit a response to the consultation, making reference to the original letter of response and restating the key points.   The chief consideration in the response would be the importance of children’s welfare, both at Skerton Community High School and at other secondary schools in the district, which would receive re-located pupils.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That a response to Lancashire County Council’s consultation on the notice to close Skerton Community High School be drafted by officers;

 

(2)          That the draft be circulated to all members and agreed with the Chairman, prior to being submitted to the County Council before the deadline.

27.

Meetings Timetable 2014-15 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered the proposed timetable of meetings for 2014/15.

 

In the course of discussion, members agreed to continue with biennial Special Council meetings, targeting the 2014 meeting at perspective candidates for the 2015 local elections to Lancaster City Council. This would be similar to the “Would you like to be a Councillor” Special Council meeting held in October 2010.

 

The Committee agreed that, wherever possible, Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) meetings should be synchronised with Cabinet meetings in order that additional meetings were not necessary in the event of a call-in.  With this in mind, the ideal length of time between meetings of Cabinet and OSC was identified as two weeks and a day, and it was agreed to amend the 2014/15 timetable to reflect this where it did not require another meeting to be changed.    In October and December 2014, where this was not possible, it was agreed to move the OSC meeting to one week and a day after Cabinet.

 

There was further agreement that OSC meetings would be scheduled two weeks and a day after Cabinet meetings on future timetables, from 2015/16 onwards.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)                   That Special Council meetings be maintained on a biennial basis, with the topic   for the September 2014 meeting being to provide information for perspective candidates for the 2015 City Council elections;

 

(2)                    That the 2014/15 timetable be amended to re-arrange OSC meetings to follow two weeks and a day after Cabinet wherever possible.  Where that was not possible, that OSC meetings be moved to follow Cabinet meetings by one week and a day.  (The revised timetable is appended to this minute);

 

(3)                   That OSC meetings be scheduled to take place two weeks and a day after Cabinet meetings on future timetables, beginning with 2015/16;

 

(4)                   That meetings of Annual Council be timetabled to begin at 6:30pm, as opposed to the current time of 6pm.

28.

Speaking at Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee Meetings pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman left the meeting during consideration of this item, and the Vice-Chairman (Councillor Mace) chaired the remainder of the meeting.

 

The Democratic Services Manager introduced a report on procedure rules for the public participation scheme of Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee, and a proposed revision of the constitution regarding ward councillors speaking at meetings.

 

In discussion, some members expressed the view that three minutes gave insufficient time for public speakers at a Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee (PHRC) to put their points across, particularly in relation to a complicated application.   It was suggested that a recommendation be forwarded for consideration at PHRC that ward members be allocated five minutes to speak, and members of the public four minutes.

 

Regarding the proposed revised wording of Council Procedure Rule 27.2, there was agreement that the reference to Licensing Regulatory Committee be removed, and an additional paragraph inserted regarding the procedure for that committee.

 

It was further agreed that the final sentence of Council Procedure Rule 27.2 should be amended to the following:

 

Ward members wishing to speak to Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee must register with Democratic Services before noon on the Thursday before the committee meets, and must indicate their position in relation to the application in order to be fair to the applicant. 

 

The reference to a maximum of three minutes being allocated to ward members who had registered to speak at the meeting would also be reviewed, depending on the outcome of the relevant discussion at Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)         That a recommendation be forwarded to Planning and Highways Regulatory    Committee that the time limit for public speaking be extended from three minutes to five in the case of ward members, and four in the case of members of the public;

 

(2)         That Council Procedure Rule 27.2 be amended to read as follows:

 

Where the Planning and Highways Regulatory is considering an individual application, any member who represents the ward to which the application relates may address the relevant committee to express views in favour or against the application for a maximum of three minutes.   Ward members wishing to speak to Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee must register with Democratic Services before noon on the Thursday before the committee meets, and must indicate their position in relation to the application in order to be fair to the applicant. 

 

And a new Council Procedure Rule 27.3 be inserted:

 

The procedures for Ward Members wishing to speak at Licensing Regulatory Committee are set out in the rights of the public to speak at Licensing Regulatory Committee in Part 4, Section 8 of the Constitution.

 

Reference to the three minute speaking limit would be reviewed in light of the decision of the Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee, in connection with (1) above.

 

(3)         That the guidance leaflet, Participation at Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee, be amended in line with the revised Council Procedure Rule 27.2 and circulated to the committee for comments.

29.

Member Development Charter Level 1 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager introduced a report on the council’s successful retention of the Member Development Charter, Level One.

 

It was noted that the awarding body, North West Employers, had made some recommendations for improvement and members were asked for their views on those suggestions.

 

In the course of discussion, it was suggested that member champions be encouraged to disseminate a greater amount of information about their subject areas, and suggest related topics for member development.   

 

It was also agreed that the report should be referred to each political group on the council, for their views on how to continue the improvement of member development.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)  That this report be referred to all political groups on the council for comment, with a further report to a subsequent meeting with the findings;

 

(2)  That officers be requested to arrange training sessions on the Lancaster City Council Constitution, focussing on delegated powers and the remit and scope of the various committees.

 

 

30.

Appointments to Committees and Changes to Membership

Minutes:

There were no appointments to committees or changes of membership.