- To consider and provide a steer on the proposals for councillor engagement with the One City approach.
- To note and comment on the governance structure and operating model for the City Office.
The Head of City Office introduced the One City team and presented the submitted report. The report formed part of a general update around changes to governance (such as the formation of a Governance Board and new Terms of Reference) and included proposals Councillor engagement with the One City approach.
Members welcomed the report and the item was opened for discussion.
It had been suggested that the Governance Board would meet four times per year following the structure of other Committees, with the minutes and papers made public. An emphasis was put on promoting transparency.
It was noted that the One City website contained contradictory information about how Councillors could attend Board meetings. It was clarified that there was no requirement to ‘apply’ and attendance from any Councillor would be welcomed. The current meetings were not yet fully public due to resourcing. It was noted that communications around One City and meeting attendance could be improved; this was acknowledged by the team with the intention to improve this.
The One City team was praised for efficiency for the number of meetings supported in consideration of the limited staffing resource.
A Member suggested that public attendance at meetings could be improved by providing greater transparency and accessibility around meeting details on the website. It was acknowledged that the website was limited in this regard due to funding. However, some improvement work was being undertaken with the Bristol Design team. It was suggested that a Google Calendar of meetings could provide some benefit; this was noted.
A Member suggested using political support officers to improve communications and messaging with Councillors. This was noted.
A Member noted a general lack of understanding of One City and its aims amongst Councillors. Officers acknowledged this and reiterated that improvement in communication was needed; an All Member Briefing had been scheduled for November 2022 and there were plans for a workshop to refresh the One City Plan.
Work had been undertaken with the Mayor’s Office to ensure that aims were mapped closely against the Corporate Plan, and the One City approach to working was a priority for the Council.
It was queried why it had taken so long to set up a Governance Board. This was due to staff resourcing, which was particularly impacted by Covid. Officers emphasised its importance in reflecting partners across the city.
A Member noted the Task and Finish Groups as a means to deliver work and asked about the mechanisms for Councillors to participate. Officers stated that expression of interest was the primary means, and that the intended work to improve communications should support Members to know more about these groups and what would be involved.
It was queried whether Ward Councillors would be approached where groups were taking on geographically specific work. While this situation had not yet arisen it was agreed that this would be the preferred approach as this would meet the One City approach of improving oversight of work across the city.
Officers were thanked for their work. It was agreed that OSMB would consider and respond to the proposals.
Resolved; That OSMB collates further responses to the proposals to submit to the City Office; and, that individual comments be sent to the One City email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.