Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT
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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.
Part A Minutes for Recommendation to Council
To follow report added 5.5.21
The Committee considered the report which set out proposed changes to the Council’s committee structure and to introduce three Cabinet Advisory Committees. The Cabinet Member for Planning said that the proposal would open-up decision making for all members and was a step towards a full committee system. He thanked members of the Policy Development Review Committee (PDRC) whose recommendations had been considered and thanked the Monitoring Officer for his input. The Leader drew attention to the recommendation from PDRC for 15 members to sit on each Committee and advised that as the 7 Cabinet members could not sit on a Committee, some members may sit on more than one of the three Committees.
In the discussion that followed, members asked questions and raised comments which included clarification on how well developed the process was, comparing how the Area Committees needed improvement, timescales, clarification on how a Cabinet Member would deal with advice from a committee if they did not agree, and resource implications to support the new committees. In response, the Cabinet Member for Planning said that Cabinet Advisory Committees were less complicated than Area Committees and suggested implementing follow-up working groups after each cycle as this had helped improve the Area Committee process. The Leader said if Cabinet did not agree with recommendations from a Cabinet Advisory Committee, they would explain why. He said that officer resource would be budgeted for but had not yet been committed, and the process of working towards a Committee System would commence in October 2021.
Several members spoke in support and highlighted the benefits of all members of the council being involved in decision making. A member suggested a review after each cycle of committees.
Members agreed to update the title of each committee to the following:
· Community with Economy and Development;
· Policy and Finance with Housing; and
· Environment with Health and Wellbeing.
(1) That changes to Part 3.2.1 of the council’s constitution as set-out in the report be recommended to Full Council for adoption.