Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 4 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Veronica Johnson  Email: veronica.johnson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5004

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Committee.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Gary Parker, Councillor Ivis Williams and Councillor Spencer Drury.

 

Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Clive Mardner.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 February 2019 and 18 March 2019.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 19 February 2019 and 18 March 2019 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

5.

Consultation pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the standardisation of consultation processes across the Council.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

This report was introduced by the Director, Communities and Environment and the Head of Communications and Digital.

 

Members were advised that officers are in the process of procuring a new consultation online portal.  Until this is installed, measures have been put in place to help support consistency across consultation.  These measures included having a standardised design; being quality assured by the Communications and Digital Team; and being checked for use of plain English.  As well as the online portal, other methods of engagement were also being used such as drop-ins, door-knocking and the Better Together meetings.

 

Responses to questions included the following points:

·       For each individual consultation it would be decided what the most appropriate methods for engagement were – if, for example, a consultation was of particular interest to the elderly, it would not be expected that they would all be IT-literate and so alternative means of engagement would be explored.

·       The team tried to ensure that consultation questions were phrased neutrally wherever possible and always had degrees featured in the responses.

·       Twitter was used but it was recognised that a relatively small percentage of the population used it and it was only used in conjunction with other methods of engagement.

·       One of the benefits from the new portal would be that once installed, it could become the single source for all online consultations making it easier for residents to engage and ensuring better promotion to achieve a higher number of responses.

·       A database of community organisations was held but it was impossible to keep this completely up to date as details constantly changed.  At the time of a consultation, the team would need to rely on the relevant department for detailed contact information.

·       With most consultations an in-principle decision had already been taken, for example, with the leisure centre in Woolwich. However, once that decision had been taken, the consultation was then very important in finding out exactly what the public would want in that leisure centre.

·       It was acknowledged that there had been problems with “Fix My Street” which was a system that had never been fully integrated.  A new system was currently being trialled before going public.

·       ‘Face to face’ was not used for every consultation as it was very resource intensive.  Several “Community Champions” were being recruited and these were people used to get feedback from the hard to reach groups.

·       Quality assurance was undertaken by the Communication and Digital Team and the departments would need to abide by the team’s advice.

 

Councillor Mardner then put forward a recommendation that all consultations should involve every communication method including face to face and that Scrutiny should check how every consultation was undertaken.

 

This recommendation was not supported by the Committee.  The Chair however, did ask officers to supply him with a matrix that gave examples of consultations undertaken that had utilised some different methods of engagement.

                             

Action – Director, C&E; Head of Comms & Digital

 

The Chair also advised that he would add an item on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to consider if the attendance of Members at outside body meetings should be monitored, and if the benefit of their membership to the Council should be measured.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Members discussed the report and agreed Option 2.  There was also some concern expressed about the lack of clarity for Members about their personal liabilities when they were representatives on certain organisations and whether in such cases, their responsibilities lay with the Council or with the organisation they were on.

 

It was also suggested that the number of outside bodies that the Council appointed to should be reviewed.

 

Resolved –

 

To undertake option 2 in the report and recommend that officers put together some proposals and bring them back to Overview and Scrutiny in the new municipal year.  Officers are asked to:

 

·       Discuss options with the Chief Whip and the Opposition Whip on ways of engaging with the outside bodies to keep an up to date register of attendance.

·       Discuss with the Executive and the Whips ways in which the benefit of membership could be measured on an annual basis and whether appointments should continue on all the current outside bodies.

·       Discuss with the Head of Legal Services the best way of clarifying for Members their personal liabilities and responsibilities on outside bodies.

 

 

 

7.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 42 KB

To consider upcoming decisions and determine any items for scrutiny.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Fahy requested that the Chair speak to the Leader of the Council about the possibility of Members having 10 working days to scrutinise upcoming decisions rather than the current 5 working days.

 

                                                                      Action – Chair of O&S

 

Councillor Hartley requested that the Boundary Review be added to the work programme of Overview and Scrutiny. This was agreed by the Chair.

 

Action – Chair of O&S / Head of CG&DS

 

 

Resolved –

 

That the upcoming executive decisions set out in the Forward Plan for the period April – June 2019 (inclusive), as set out at Appendix 1, be noted.

 

 

 

8.

Commissioning Future Reports pdf icon PDF 35 KB

The Committee is asked to note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 30 April 2019.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair advised that he would circulate a draft of the work programme to all members of the Committee before it came back to the meeting on 30th April for agreement.

 

Action – Chair of O&S / Head of CG&DS

 

He asked that any additions to the draft be sent to him before the end of the week.

 

                                                                      Action - All

 

Resolved –

 

That the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 30th April 2019 be noted.