Meeting documents

Democratic Services Committee
Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018 2.00 pm

Date: Wednesday 2nd May 2018 Time: 02.00 p.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndWithReport toReport of
Item/Resolution Status Action
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (169K/bytes)

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.


The following apology for absence was reported:-
Councillor P. Baldwin


No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported.

Minutes (49K/bytes)
Cofnodion (71K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Democratic Services Committee held on 5th April, 2018.

Councillor J. Holt's apologies had been omitted from the minutes.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Report (128K/bytes)
Appendix (533K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Governance & Partnerships.

The Officer spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. She explained that in 2017 it was agreed to review the PDR and Competency Framework arrangements, and the report outlined the review process which was undertaken involving desk top research, which included learning from other areas and WLGA guidance.

The revised procedures had been developed to build on the previous process to ensure we maximise the opportunity for Members, and the Officer confirmed that the WLGA were keen for us to share our experience with other LA's.

The anticipated outcomes of the process were highlighted at Section 2.2, which included enhanced clarity for Members in terms of accountability, and an improved understanding of how Members' roles were linked to the Council's key priorities as set out in the Corporate Plan.

The Competency Framework reflected the Senior Management Competency Framework and demonstrated alignment between Members and Senior Management as one leadership team.

The Officer then went through the draft PDR/Competency Framework document attached to the report and explained the Sections contained therein. The Personal Action Plans would inform the overall Member Development Programme.

The Officer then referred Members to Section 6.1 of the report which set out the arrangements to be implemented if the report was agreed.

The Leader of the Labour Group said he was disappointed that no opportunity was offered for Group discussions prior to the report being submitted to Committee. He then referred to Section 1.2 of the report and said whilst legislation stated that Councils must have a system of PDR for Members, there was no legislative requirement for Members to take it up. He supported the mandatory element for PDR's for Senior Salary Holders, but expressed concern regarding the performance indicators included within Section 1 of the Competency Framework document relating to the number of training courses attended. He said whilst he supported the PDR process, he could not support the inclusion of PI's which in his opinion gave the process more of an appraisal element.

The Officer confirmed that information in relation to attendance of training courses and Committees was already gathered, and some of this was published. She pointed out that the format of the PDR was very much about personal development and support established during discussions between a Member and the reviewee.

In response the Member said when information on attendance was published, it did not state whether a Member was absent due to other Council commitments.

The Leader of the Council said the original PDR process benefitted from being developed further, and needed a Competency Framework that not only gave credibility for Group Leaders when considering committee membership etc., but also to our external regulators that we are meeting our requirements, particularly in terms of mandatory sessions.

He said there was an expectation on the Council to strengthen the PDR process moving forward, and that the revised arrangements were a step in the right direction. If we did not adopt a Competency Framework enhancing our PDR arrangements it would potentially be a reputational issue for the Council.

In response the Officer confirmed that the mandatory training had been discussed and agreed with both Group Leaders, and the PDR/Competency Framework had been based on WLGA guidance. She said Members were not obliged to undertake a PDR, but the Council was required to provide that opportunity and have PDR arrangements in place.

A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the PI's and Member attendances at training sessions. A number of Members said they had no objection to this information being collated, and supported the Competency Framework as a way of identifying support for Members. A Member pointed out that the PDR/Competency Framework was not open to the public and was a personal development document to identify areas of support required for Members.

The Officer said the purpose of the PDR process was to outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by Elected Members, and support their personal development. Part of the confidential review process was to develop action plans, personal to each Member, and to provide an opportunity to assess progress and to understand where further training would be helpful in setting future personal objectives. In relation to Section 1 of the Competency Framework it was clear from Member discussions that the PI's could be changed to reflect mandatory training sessions only.

The Leader of the Council said he was happy with the document in its current format which was supported by external regulators. However, if there was issue with the PI's then he would support an amendment to Section 1 to include mandatory training sessions only, and the Leader of the Labour Group agreed with this approach.

Another Member also suggested that the word 'political' be removed from the 4th bullet point on Option 1 of the report.

RESOLVED accordingly.

FURTHER RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and that Option 1 be recommended to Council as the preferred Option, namely:-

That the Democratic Services Committee recommends the Member PDR/Competency Framework (Appendix 2) to Council for approval; and

The following arrangements be implemented:

- The PDR/Competency Framework be offered to all Members and be mandatory for Senior Salary Holders (Members in receipt of a special responsibility allowance which includes the Leader of the Council and Leader of the Labour Group);
- The Head of Democratic Services observes all mandatory sessions to support the process;
- All mandatory sessions be externally facilitated to enable a level of consistency;
- Groups to identify PDR/Competency Framework reviewers for non-mandatory sessions and organise these sessions through Group;
- In-house training session to be delivered for Members identified as reviewers;
- PDR/Competency Framework to be undertaken on an annual basis prior to AGM;
- For 2018, a six monthly implementation to be undertaken (i.e. November 2018); and
- Any requests for support identified from the PDR/Competency Framework sessions to be passed to the Head of Democratic Services.

Report (118K/bytes)
Appendix (92K/bytes)

Councillor J. Collins left the meeting at this juncture.

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Performance Manager.

The Head of Governance & Partnerships spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. She confirmed that discussions had been held regarding how to revise the template to ensure that the information provided for Members was precise, but also to avoid duplication. As a result the template had been reviewed following desk top research, and of other Authorities and she confirmed that if accepted today, the new Corporate Report Template would be attached to the Annual Report of the Head of Democratic Services which would be submitted to the Council's AGM on 24th May, 2018.

A brief discussion ensued when a Member said it would be helpful for the report author to attend meetings. The Officer said this comment would be shared, however, she confirmed that the new template would reflect 'report submitted by' and 'report written by'. She also pointed out that the word 'personnel' would be amended to 'HR' within the document.

RESOLVED to recommend that that the report be accepted and the Democratic Services Committee recommend (Option 1) the new Corporate Report Template to Council for approval.

Report (118K/bytes)
Appendix (610K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Performance Manager.

The Head of Governance & Partnerships presented the Annual Scrutiny Report which highlighted the role of Scrutiny Committees, and the key areas of work undertaken over the year contributing to the work of the Council.

RESOLVED to recommend that that the report be accepted and Option 1 be approved, namely that Members note the information contained in the Annual Scrutiny Report and recommend to Council for approval the key areas of work that have been undertaken by each Scrutiny Committee during 2017/18, as well as the work planned to be undertaken throughout 2018/19 and agree that the report be published on the Blaenau Gwent website.