Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Virtual Meeting Via Skype*
Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330 Senior Democratic Services Officer
To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 November 2020 (Minute Nos. 281 - 288) as a correct record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 November 2020 (Minute Nos. 281 – 288) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
A Member stated that at the meeting on the 26 November 2020 he had asked for Area Committees to be included for discussion at this meeting. He asked why it was not included in the minutes from that meeting and why it was not on this agenda? The Policy and Performance Officer stated that his request had been included within the minutes under Minute No. 286. He explained that further to the motion considered by Full Council on 6 January 2021 about Kent Association of Local Councils (KALC) representatives having seats on Area Committees, KALC had expressed concern that they had not been consulted on the motion. Therefore officers were liaising with KALC for their views on the motion in order that it could come forward for discussion at PDRC as soon as possible.
The Chairman hoped that it might be possible to consider the item at the next scheduled meeting of PDRC on 3 March 2021.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves or their spouse, civil partner or person with whom they are living with as a spouse or civil partner. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
The Chairman will ask Members if they have any interests to declare in respect of items on this agenda, under the following headings:
(a) Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI) under the Localism Act 2011. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DPI, the Member must leave the meeting and not take part in the discussion or vote. This applies even if there is provision for public speaking.
(b) Disclosable Non Pecuniary (DNPI) under the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in May 2012. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DNPI interest, the Member may stay, speak and vote on the matter.
(c) Where it is possible that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Member might be predetermined or biased the Member should declare their predetermination or bias and then leave the meeting while that item is considered.
Advice to Members: If any Councillor has any doubt about the existence or nature of any DPI or DNPI which he/she may have in any item on this agenda, he/she should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer, the Head of Legal or from other Solicitors in Legal Services as early as possible, and in advance of the Meeting.
No interests were declared.
The Committee is asked to consider the report and recommendations from the Cabinet Advisory Committees Working Group.
The Chairman welcomed Councillor Elliott Jayes, Chairman of the Cabinet Advisory Committees Working Group, to the meeting.
Councillor Jayes introduced the report which invited the committee to consider the findings of the working group on the details and viability of introducing Cabinet Advisory Committees, and to approve the report and recommendations for submission to the Cabinet Member for Planning.
Councillor Jayes reported that the group had met three times and had agreed that the three advisory committees should cover the following Cabinet portfolios: health and environment; finance and housing; and community and economic development. They also agreed that the committees should be politically balanced and chaired by a non-Cabinet Member, and each committee should have 15 Members. The effectiveness of the committees should be reviewed after a year.
Members were invited to consider the report and the following points were raised:
· Disappointed that on attending the working group Members were told that it was not under the remit of the group to consider whether the advisory committees should go ahead, and felt like the group were being “dictated” to on what they could discuss;
· paragraph 4.21 on page 9 of the report did not seem to correspond with recommendation e) on page 11 of the report in relation to Deputy Cabinet Members;
· would the advisory committees be open to the public ie. would formal minutes be published?; and
· would be disappointed to see PDRC dissolved.
The Chairman agreed that the wording in paragraph 4.21 needed to be amended so it corresponded with recommendation e) which stated that Deputy Cabinet Members should not be a member of a committee relating to their Cabinet Members portfolio.
The Chairman of the Working Group advised that the advisory committees would be public meetings and formal minutes would be published. They would meet on a quarterly basis, dependent on workload so there was flexibility. He considered that the group had been able to discuss all content whilst considering the advisory committees.
In response to a query, the Policy and Performance Officer stated that dissolvement of PDRC was under the remit of the General Purposes Committee to advise on as a constitutional amendment.
The Cabinet Member for Planning thanked the working group for their “excellent” report, and said he would be interested to see how the committees developed.
(1) That the report on Cabinet Advisory Committees for submission to the Cabinet Member for Planning be approved.
Record of Thanks
The Chairman gave thanks to the Policy and Performance Officer who would be leaving Swale Borough Council shortly. He thanked him for all his assistance in administering the PDRC and their working groups. Other Members congratulated him on his work.