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Agenda and minutes

Venue: The North Wiltshire Room - County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Ian Blair-Pilling.

2.

Minutes

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2017.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2017 were presented for consideration and it was,

 

Resolved:

 

To approve and sign as a true and correct record.

3.

Declarations of Interest

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

Minutes:

There were no declarations.

4.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.

Minutes:

There were no announcements.

5.

Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.

 

Statements

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

clarification.

 

Questions

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 4 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 8 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.

Minutes:

There were no members of the public in attendance.

6.

Electoral Review Update

To provide an update on the progression of the Electoral Review

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced all of the documentation that had been publicly published following the two workshop sessions held on 20 December 2017 and 3 January 2018, to enable the Committee and others to make data based analyses of appropriate council size options. This had included details on the council’s governance and scrutiny arrangements, the representational role of council, comparative local authority data, electorate forecasts, survey data from councillors, and the responses from the consultation with council staff the Committee had requested. A member felt that any consultation response requested from staff should include details of which officer submitted the responses.

 

The Committee considered all the data published including the submissions, and discussed whether the evidence as presented justified any particular council sizes. It was confirmed electorate to councillor ratios and cost factors were not relevant considerations, and it was agreed that the council needed to support whatever number it felt the evidence suggested, not attempt to assume the Local Government Boundary Commission for England had a target number to reduce the council to, and to react to such an assumption.

 

The Committee considered that area board arrangements in Wiltshire, being formal area committees with delegated executive authority and distinct budgets designated for historic community areas, were a significant factor to consider. With only minor reductions in the overall council numbers the representational role of councillors was significantly impacted in several areas. The evidence as submitted suggested the workloads for councillors had already increased over time and would continue to do so, as it was not accepted that a certain level of delegation of assets to towns and parishes would reduce unitary councillor workloads, particularly in rural areas. The council’s governance and scrutiny arrangements operated effectively and were efficiently organised, and it was noted the most recent peer reviews of scrutiny indicated the arrangements were appropriate and working well. As a result, some members suggested an increase in councillor numbers would develop and improve the effectiveness of the present arrangements further, rather than a reduction below 93, which it was felt would make the governance arrangements unworkable.

 

It was noted that Cornwall Council had recently been reviewed and had been reduced in size by a third, however it was also noted that Cornwall had also undertaken devolution arrangements with central government, whereas Wiltshire Council had decided pursuing such arrangements was not suitable and was not subject to any agreement regarding devolution arrangements. Additionally, its Community Network Areas lacked the significance of the delegated powers of the Area boards, and it had even fewer parish councils than Wiltshire.

 

Other issues raised included more details on area board arrangements and the need for both council administrative and democratic efficiency.

 

At the conclusion of discussion, and upon the moving of Councillor Jonathon Seed, seconded by Councillor Graham Wright, it was,

 

 

Resolved:

 

That the evidence as presented supported a council size of between 93-99, and that further work be undertaken ahead of the meeting on 25 January 2018, where the Committee would determine the precise  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Work Programme

16 January – Committee Workshop (provisional – if required)

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.  

Minutes:

It was confirmed that it was not felt necessary to hold an additional workshop meeting on 16 January 2018.

 

Resolved:

 

To note the work programme.

 

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