Meeting documents

Democratic Services Committee
Thursday, 11th April, 2019 10.00 am

Date: Thursday 11th April 2019 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

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

PresentAndWithReport toReport of

COUNCILLOR M. CROSS (CHAIR)

Councillors J. Millard
J. Collins
N. Daniels
K. Hayden
W. Hodgins
M. Holland
H. McCarthy
J.C. Morgan
J.P. Morgan
L. Parsons

Scrutiny Chairs & Vice-Chairs
Councillors
P. Edwards
S.C. Thomas

Head of Democratic ServicesTHE CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE COUNCILDEMOCRATIC SERVICES OFFICER
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Version of Agenda Coversheet (169K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION


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

Apologies for absence were received as follows:-

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Councillor J. Holt
Councillor T. Sharrem
Councillor H. Trollope

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The Chair wished to express thanks to the Members of the Democratic Services Committee and officers for their support and dedication over the past year. The Chair�s comments were echoed by the Vice-Chair.
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Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported.

Noted
5. DEMOCRATIC SERVICES COMMITTEE
Minutes (158K/bytes)
Cofnodion (41K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 7th March, 2019.

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The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be received as a true record of proceedings.
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Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Report (130K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet arising from the meeting of the Democratic Services Committee held on 7th March, 2019; whereupon:-


Democratic Arrangements Progress Report

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The Head of Democratic Services referred to the number of recommendations made by Scrutiny to the Executive. These recommendations were made on the respective topic being considered at that point in time and although the progress report detailed a downward trend in outturn in this process there was no correct number.

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A Member added that recommendations made by Scrutiny are referred to the Executive with an invitation for Scrutiny Chairs to attend the Executive to take questions. Therefore he felt that the correct process was in place to support the democratic process.


Car Insurance

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Further to the response provided from OD and Legal, it was suggested that correspondence be circulated to all Members to ensure that their car insurance policy reflect their work as an elected Member.

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AGREED accordingly.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing that the Action Sheet be noted.
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Agreed
7. ANNUAL REPORT OF HEAD OF DEMOCRATIC SERVICES
Report (122K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the annual report of the Head of Democratic Services.

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The Head of Democratic Services outlined the annual report and detailed the summary of the current service and support provided to Elected Members. This work included Personal Development Review, WLGA Charter Award for Member Development and Support, Training Programme, Mentoring Scheme, Support to Members on Outside Bodies, Member Champions and she noted the positive report received from WAO on the Overview and Scrutiny: Fit for the Future report.

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The Vice-Chair referred to the Member Champions and asked if the Democratic Services Committee set the Champions to specific areas. He felt that there were other areas where Champions could be appointed.

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The Head of Democratic Services advised historically the Authority had a significant number of Member Champions and it was agreed that Member Champions be linked to our Corporate responsibilities, i.e Children�s Champion, Older Person�s Champion, it was key they were also linked to our statutory responsibilities.

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Another Member referred to the IT training and the Head of Democratic Services advised that follow up sessions would be planned for Members and also refresher sessions for Members who took part in recent sessions.

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The Chair noted the award achieved in Level 1 of the WLGA Charter for Member Development and Support and asked if the Head of Democratic Services had planned to apply for the next level. He felt that the award raised the profile of the Council and recognised the hard work of officers in the support provided to Elected Members.
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The Head of Democratic Services advised that it was a three year term and certain processes needed to be embedded prior to consideration being given to apply for the next Level. But noted that the WLGA had encouraged the Council to apply for advanced Charter Status.

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Another Member referred to reports Members presented to Council on work undertaken on outside bodies. He advised that he was a Board Member on Aneurin Leisure Trust Board and along with his colleague submitted a report for consideration to Council. However the report was amended and only reflected a small proportion of his work undertaken on that Board. He felt that this did not give a clear indication to Members of the significant work carried out in this role.

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The Head of Democratic Services advised that the role of Members on outside bodies varied depending on the nature of the board/group. In some instances information was sensitive and therefore need to be omitted from a public document to protect the Councillor and the Council.

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The Head of Democratic Services agreed to seek clarification on this matter with Legal Services, however it was suggested that it may be more appropriate that Members on certain outside bodies would be omitted from the procedure.

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AGREED accordingly.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be presented to Council for approval on the basis that the Democratic Services Committee was satisfied that there was a sufficient level of support for Elected Members.
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Agreed
8. DEMOCRATIC ARRANGEMENTS AND SCRUTINY PROGRESS REPORT
Report (111K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (607K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Service Manager � Performance and Democratic.

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The Head of Democratic Services advised that the report outlined progress over the period from October 2018 to March 2019 and mirrored the work covered in the Annual Report.

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The Vice-Chair welcomed Modern.Gov which would assist Councillors in accessing agendas electronically. The Head of Democratic Services advised that it was hoped that the agenda management system would also provide details of other meetings to further support the work of elected members.

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The Chair referred to the infrastructure of the Council Chamber and asked if there were any plans to improve the facilities. The Leader/Executive Member for Corporate Services advised that discussions had been undertaken with the Managing Director around upgrading the Chamber. The Leader felt that the Council Chamber was no longer fit for purpose and equipment was out of date. He hoped that these discussions would progress in the new financial year. He also added that he had tasked the Head of Democratic Services with identifying ways in which Committee Meetings could be webcasted and zero or low cost to the Council.

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Another Member added that these works had been considered previously, however such improvements came at a significant cost.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the information included within the Democratic Arrangements and Scrutiny Progress Report as outlined in Appendix 1 be presented to Council for approval.
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Agreed