To receive a presentation from Lucinda Bell.
The Chief Executive gave a presentation outlining the status of the current governance review.
The presentation covered:
Members discussed public engagement, soft skills and the benefits and disadvantages of specialist/silo working. It was agreed that whilst these elements were a vital part of being a Councillor, it had no relation to which governance model was in operation.
The Group’s attention turned to the level of Member involvement in the decision making process.
The Chair said he would like to trial a shadow system, by which the same decisions taken to Cabinet would be considered by an alternative cross-party committee. Following the end of the trial, one could compare the decisions made and ascertain whether the outcome of decisions would differ under a Cabinet or Committee system.
Members discussed the nature of the Cabinet system and whether it was easily subverted by strong personalities in the Executive. There was some agreement that the system was predisposed to strong personalities, but also that personalities and ego were an issue regardless of what system was in place. Members agreed that Local Government was not well suited to individuals of a narrow mind, and that the personality of the Leader was an important element in terms of an inclusive decision making process.
Members discussed the practicalities of trialling a shadow Committee system. There was agreement that a shadow system could not be rolled out for every committee, but instead a contentious area of Local Government would be selected and a group formed to shadow the decision making process of Cabinet.
The Chief Executive said proposals would be brought to the next meeting.