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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Salisbury Room - County Hall, Trowbridge. View directions

Contact: Kieran Elliott  01225 718504, Email: kieran.elliott@wiltshire.gov.uk

No. Item



To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


Apologies were received from Councillor Clare Cape, who was substituted by Councillor Ruth Hopkinson.


Councillor Ian McLennan gave apologies that he would arrive late to the meeting.



To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2018.

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2018 were presented for consideration and it was,




To approve and sign as a true and correct record.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.


There were no declarations.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.


Through the Chair there was the following statement:


At the last meeting Cllr Seed raised the question of the three staff submissions received to the review consultation. He questioned whether staff advising the committee could remain impartial if they were involved in the submissions.


The Committee requested that staff be consulted. However, staff were advised erroneously by a member of staff, and without the prior knowledge or approval of the Director for Legal & Democratic Services and the Corporate Director, that any submissions would be anonymous. Whilst incorrect this position must now be supported as it was on that basis that staff have responded.


The Corporate Director and Director for Legal & Democratic Services advise the committee that the submission will be drafted by themselves and the Head of Service for Democratic Services. None of these staff were involved in the staff submissions in any way.


I hope this addresses the valid question raised by Cllr Seed at our last meeting


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.



If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this

agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item.


Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further




To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such

questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on 18 January 2018 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on 20 January 2018. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.


There were no questions or statements submitted.


Electoral Review Update

A paper will be circulated regarding council size submission options.


The Committee is asked to consider the evidence and commentary to support the resolution on the council size range agreed at the last meeting.


This will need to focus on the key aspects of area board structure and development, and the case for executive portfolio-holders. The paper will outline the views expressed by members at the committee and workshops to date, along with the constitutional requirements, operational experiences, business plan intentions and independent reviews undertaken on the importance and effectiveness of these components.


The Committee has already commented and expressed its support for Wiltshire Council’s current Cabinet and committee arrangements, overview and scrutiny set-up and councillor representational role based on the information/evidence supplied at the workshops and to the Committee.


In the light of further discussion, the intention is for the Committee to also define its preferred position on council-size.


Following the Committee, the project team will work on completing a first draft of the Council’s submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) under the preliminary stage on council size for finalisation by the Committee on 7 February.

Supporting documents:


At its meeting on 11 January 2018 the Committee, having reviewed the available evidence against the valid criteria of governance arrangements, scrutiny arrangements and the representational role of councillors, determined that the most appropriate council-size for the Wiltshire Council area was between 93-99 councillors. In particular the Committee had determined that the community area structure was very significant due to its impact on council governance, engagement and service delivery. Other significant factors included the role played by executive portfolio holders and the relating impact upon committee membership and scrutiny engagement, and the representational role of councillors within a large, rural unitary council.


The Chairman introduced two supplementary documents which explored the impacts of council sizes of 93-99 upon the community areas, average division size, as well as reasoning for the presence of executive portfolio holders and the particular challenges arising from a large, rural authority, including the engagement with and assistance to large numbers of parish councils.


The Committee discussed the information, noting that electoral equality was the most significant factor, and considered which if any of the proposed range of council sizes met that requirement in addition to being supported by other factors. It was argued that the historic nature of the community areas along with their centrality to council governance and service delivery in localities, which would only increase in years to come, justified maintaining a council size which did not make more than minor adjustments to the external boundary of a community area.


It was accepted that even with council sizes at the upper end of the range, significant changes would be made to division boundaries to achieve electoral equality, and the acceptable level of variance from the average division was debated, along with whether it was felt there was a practical level at which no more area boards could be reduced to 3 members and be as effective as possible.


Other issues discussed included the conclusions of Peer reviews regarding council governance arrangements, whether there had been or would be an overall reduction or increase in the workload of councillors in years to come, the particular challenges posed by rurality, electorate forecasts and updates from the Commission.


During debate a motion for a council-size of 99 to be recommended to Full Council as the figure to be submitted to the Commission was moved by Councillor Jonathon Seed, seconded by Councillor Ian McLennan, and at the conclusion of discussion it was,




That based on the evidence presented the Committee considered 99 to be the appropriate council size and they therefore instructed officers to draft a proposed submission to the LGBCE based on that figure, to be considered by the Committee at its next meeting


Work Programme

25 January – Committee Meeting – Finalise Recommendations

7 February – Committee Meeting – Finalise Submission to Council

20 February (or extraordinary) – Council Meeting – Approve Submission to Commission


The Project Board will be scheduled to meet to periodically to ensure the requirements of the Committee are delivered by the project team.  


The work programme was noted, with the next meeting to be the 7 February 2018 meeting, ahead of Full Council on 20 February 2018.


Urgent Items

Any other items of business, which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.


There were no urgent items.




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