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Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Bordeaux Room, 1st Floor, City Hall, BS1 5TR

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions, and Safety Information


The Chair welcomed those present and introductions were made.



Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Makawi who was substituted by Councillor Mack.



Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes from the previous meetings and decisions log pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings on 27th January and 24th February 2023 were approved as a correct record.

Members noted the decision log.



Public Forum pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.


Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum. The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda. Public Forum items should be emailed to and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-


Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by 5pm on Monday 27th March 2023.


Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting. For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12 Noon on Thursday 30th March 2023.


Please note, your time allocated to speak may have to be strictly limited if there are a lot of submissions. This may be as short as one minute

Additional documents:


The following public forum questions were received for the meeting. There were no public forum statements.

Questions (and answers)




PQ 01

Suzanne Audrey

Q1. At your previous meeting decisions were made about scrutiny. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend that meeting as I was away. There have been concerns about scrutiny in Bristol. Please can you explain how scrutiny will be improved with the proposed new arrangements compared with the current system under an elected mayor?

A1. Members have agreed that the core functions of Scrutiny i.e., to consider decisions and undertake policy development, can be conducted effectively in the Policy Committees.  This will prevent the duplication that would arise from two separate groups of politically proportionate Councillors looking at the same information in different places and enable Councillors to have oversight of decisions at every stage.  However, in recognition of the possibility that some decisions may still benefit from additional review, Members have agreed that a cross party Escalation Panel will be established to consider matters if there are concerns that a decision is not being made in accordance with the principles outlined in Article 14 of the Council's Constitution.  For further details please see the minutes from our previous meeting and also the debate at the Full Council meeting on 14th March 23, which is available via the webcast on our website.


   PQ 02

Suzanne Audrey

Q2. In making decisions about the number and responsibilities of committees, are you also able to incorporate factors relating to the composition of those committees e.g., gender balance?

A2.  Each Group will be responsible for making appointments to the Policy Committees once they're established, which will be communicated by the Group Whips.  In doing so, the Groups will attempt to ensure diverse representation on Committees where possible, subject to factors such as Members' availability.


PQ 03

Councillor Martin Fodor

Q3. There are various budgets and functions needed by every local authority, e.g. press team, external and internal comms, consultation and engagement work, international links, policy advice for the leadership and dealing with contact from residents, partners and stakeholders. In Bristol much has been centralised into the Mayor's office. Please itemise all the functions, teams, and separate budgets in the Mayor's office for Financial year 2023-24 and beyond, i.e., identify details for those which are still in the council budget for Financial Year 2024-25 onwards.

A3. The 23/24 budget was approved by Full Council in February 23 and includes details of the Executive Office budget, which includes the Mayor’s Office and is part of the Legal and Democratic Services division.  The other areas that you mention sit within the Policy and Strategy division.  As part of the development of the budget for 24/25 we will be reviewing the Executive Office/Mayor's Office budget.


PQ 04

Councillor Martin Fodor

Q4. What is known about core cites and comparator authorities about their arrangements and budgets for such teams and functions inc. noting which governance arrangements each has.

A4. Every Council manages its  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Committee Structure; to determine the number of Committees and their general responsibilities pdf icon PDF 295 KB


The Director of Legal and Democratic Services provided a brief introduction to the report, advising that three potential models had been provided for illustrative purposes and Members were now asked to clarify their preferred option.  During the ensuing discussion, the following points were made:

·       Policy Committees could delegate matters to sub-committees.  Membership of Subgroups could be any Councillor and did not need to be taken from the parent body.  Matters could also be addressed via Task Groups, Working Groups and Inquiry Days.

·       Consideration should be given to the remit of each Policy Committee to ensure balanced workloads.

·       There were several cross-cutting issues of significant importance such as public health, climate change and equalities that needed to be given appropriate attention in the Policy Committees.

·       Members agreed that flexibility was important, and the remit of the Policy Committees may need to be regularly reviewed to ensure the best outcomes. 

·       The Committee agreed that all items that currently go to Full Council should continue to do so in the new model. It was reiterated that decisions currently made by elected Members should remain political decisions.  Members noted that further discussion was required about how officer delegated decisions would operate, including the options for Member oversight, but the prevailing view was that use of this mechanism should not be increased in the new model.

Following the initial discussion, Members agreed that the Policy Committees should broadly reflect the seven Corporate Themes as outlined in the Council’s Corporate Strategy 2022-2027, with the exception that the ‘Effective Organisational Development’ theme would become the ‘Strategy & Resources Policy Committee’.  Details as follows:

1.       Children & Young People

2.       Economy & Skills

3.       Environment & Sustainability

4.       Health, Care & Wellbeing


Members went on to state that:

5.       Homes & Communities

6.       Strategy & Resources

7.       Transport & Connectivity


·       The Strategy & Resources Committee would be the same as the other Policy Committees, with each reporting to Full Council.  Membership would need to be politically proportionate, and the options for this wouldn’t be known until after the election in 2024, although the working assumption was nine Councillors. Budget matters may need to be addressed via a sub-Committee.

The list of current Cabinet Member responsibilities and decisions should be mapped against the Corporate Themes and brought back to the next meeting to enable the Committee to identify any gaps and consider the approach to cross cutting topics. To allow for further discussion on this topic, Members requested an additional hour slot at the April meeting.


·       That there will be seven Policy Committees based on the Council’s Corporate Themes with further details to be agreed at the CMWG’s meeting on 28th April 23.  In order to facilitate this discussion, Members requested a breakdown of the current Cabinet Member portfolios and decisions aligned to the Corporate Themes.



Stakeholder engagement feedback


Councillors Bartle and Gollop advised that they had recently attended the following meetings to discuss the work of the Committee and engage with partners.

·       City Gathering

·       Mayor’s Community Leaders Forum

·       Bristol Women’s Commission (also attended by Committee Members)

·       Bristol Disability Equality Commission

 Attendance at other Groups was planned and updates would be brought back in due course.



Work Programme - for noting only pdf icon PDF 51 KB