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Agenda item

Policy Committees - Structure and Responsibilities

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Engagement provided a brief introduction to the report and reminded the Committee of what was discussed at the previous meeting. The Group went onto consider the report, commenting as follows:

 

  • The responsibilities of each Policy Committee as set out were broadly acceptable, however, there were concerns about the need to ensure public health was given sufficient prominence.  In view of this, it was agreed that there should be an eighth Policy Committee ‘Public Health and Communities’ and the ‘Homes and Communities’ Policy Committee would be changed to ‘Homes and Housing Delivery.’  It was noted that this would increase the number of seats each Group was required to fill, however, it was also noted that not all Policy Committees would need to meet with the same frequency.
  • The Group heard from a Councillor on the need for the Health and Wellbeing Policy Committee to have a clear focus on Adult Social Care, as this was where the majority of the Council’s budget was utilised. The Group was reminded of the statutory requirement to have a separate Health and Wellbeing Board, made up of Members and external partners.
  • Members discussed the option of establishing any standing Sub-Committees and agreed that from the outset there should be one relating to budget matters, which would report to the Strategy and Resources Policy Committee, with another covering Health, which would report to the Public Health and Communities Policy Committee. Any other Sub-Committees would be agreed in due course. 
  • Consideration was given to local decision making with differing views about if and when the current arrangements should be reviewed and potentially expanded.  Members noted that this would be subject to in-depth discussion at their meeting on 26th May 23.
  • It should be noted that the Local Plan Working Group would be retained in the new model.
  • The Group agreed that a forum should exist for all Policy Committee Chairs and senior officers to meet regularly to discuss key strategic matters. These would not be formal, decision-making meetings but would enable a cohesive approach.
  • Members went on to consider the arrangements for review of the Council’s monitoring of risk, performance and budgets and agreed that each Policy Committee should receive reports in these areas, with oversight being the responsibility of the Strategy and Resources Policy Committee. 
  • It was noted that the Policy Committees would need to be politically proportionate, and Members agreed that the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of all Committees (including the regulatory ones) would be appointed at Full Council.
  • The group agreed that the Strategy and Resources Committee does not have to exclusively be made up of Policy Committee Chairs, with appointments to be made by the Whips in due course.

 

RESOLVED: That the following recommendations be made to Full Council:

 

  • That there would be standing Sub-Committees relating to Health and Budgets, reporting to the Communities and Public Health and Strategy and Resources Committee respectively.
  • That there be 8 Policy Committees as follows:

-      Adult Social Care

-      Children and Young People

-      Economy and Skills

-      Environment and Sustainability

-      Homes and Housing Delivery

-      Public Health and Communities

-      Strategy and Resources

-      Transport and Connectivity

 

Supporting documents: