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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 11/10/2005
Report of the Conclusions of the Constitutional Special Interest Group



Summary & Purpose
This annexe gives the Constitution Special Interest Group’s (SIG) views on the proposals for streamlining Waverley's Development Control decision making process.

There are resource implications which are set out in the report.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive


ANNEXE 2
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE - 11TH OCTOBER 2005

REPORT OF THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION SPECIAL
INTEREST GROUP – MEETINGS OF 9TH AND 28TH SEPTEMBER 2005

Title:
DEVELOPMENT CONTROL DECISION MAKING PROCESS-
CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This annexe gives the Constitution Special Interest Group’s (SIG) views on the proposals for streamlining Waverley's Development Control decision making process.

There are resource implications which are set out in the report.

Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

E-Government implications:

There is a range of suggestions relating to improved communication with Town and Parish Councils, Waverley Members and applicants and agents. In particular, the Modernising Planning SIG has stressed the need to publicise the availability of the Council's PARSOL system and the Constitution SIG has proposals for improving communication further.

Resource implications

The Constitution SIG has reviewed these and wishes to propose that the Executive includes funds for a pilot programme to bring all Town and Parish Councils up to a minimum standard of IT equipment to be able to access planning information speedily, for both Town and Parish Councillors and residents.

Legal implications

The Solicitor to the Council wishes to carry out a further detailed review of the Scheme of Delegation on planning matters and the SIG supports this.

Work of the Modernising Planning SIG

1. The Constitution SIG endorses the proposals not to make any extensive changes to the Constitution or Procedure Rules and the conclusions are set out in paragraphs 2 to 4 below.

Officer Delegated Powers and allocation of functions

2. This SIG supported the proposal to make no significant changes for now, but to ask officers to work up detailed proposals for a change in approach to delegation to one of reserving key powers to the Committee or Sub-Committees and delegating all others.

Public Speaking Scheme and Other Procedural Issues

3. Again, the Modernising Planning SIG has discussed possibilities for widening this, but concluded, on balance, that the scheme should continue as now, but that there should be a review in the future, and this SIG supports this.

Reporting Delegated Officer Decisions to the Decision Making Committees

4. The Constitution Special Interest Group endorsed the proposals for improving this information and asked that the maximum use be made of e-mail and web based systems. This SIG also proposes setting up a budget for IT equipment and support to Town and Parish Councils to bring all up to a minimum standard of access to PARSOL and other web based Waverley systems.

Areas that Involve Changes to the Constitution

(a) Involvement of Ward Members

5. This SIG agrees the proposals for strengthening the role of Ward members and a procedure rule to enable Ward members to speak and reply to any clarifications. Find below a new procedure rule 24. 1:-

This SIG also suggested that all members be sent the new A and B planning lists electronically with their new committee agenda to help keep them informed.

(b) New Committee Structure

6. The committee structure proposed by the MP SIG was as follows:-

(a) an overall Development Management Committee, which would, in effect, replace the Development Control Committee; and

(b) two Borough-wide Sub-Committees, which would replace the current four area based Sub-Committees.

7. This SIG accepted the current level of member support for such large committees, but because of worries about the practicality of such large meetings would like a review, in time for the 2006/7 Council year appointments, of their operation. This SIG also wanted to give emphasis to the new role of these free-standing committees A and B and suggested that an alternative title to "sub-committees" such as Panels might help this. The SIG also felt that the new A and B committees should be encouraged to minimise the number of applications referred-up to the overall committee.

8. This SIG suggested encouraging Group Secretaries to ensure a broad geographical representation and suggested that exceptionally, at least for the initial appointments, the Groups be asked to submit their nominations well in advance and then a special meeting of the Modernising Planning SIG or the Constitution SIG could review the nominations to ensure that the proposed membership is both politically proportional and ensures a good geographical cover of the whole Borough.

9. The SIG endorsed the suggested allocation of functions to the new Committee and Sub-Committees set out at Annexe 2.1

Other Proposed Constitution Changes

10. (a) Member substitutions

The Modernising Planning SIG had suggested that as the new Sub-Committees will consist of 22 Members, there was no need to have substitutes and that the need for substitutes on the main Committee of 44 Members was even less pressing. Accordingly, the Council's substitution scheme and the particular element of the Constitution would have to be amended to exclude the main Development Control Management Committee and its Sub-Committees from the substitution scheme. This SIG felt that this was acceptable with such large committees and sub-committees, but if the memberships were reduced felt that the question should be looked at again.

(b) References up of contentious matters

(i) From the Sub-Committees to the main Committee

The Constitution SIG felt the number of Members requesting a reference –up should be increased further to 7, which would be a similar proportion to the current numbers on the Area sub-committees.

(ii) Referrals to Council

The Constitution SIG agreed with the Modernising Planning SIG that as the new Development Control Management Committee would consist of 44 Members, which is almost the number currently involved in planning decision making, then it was unnecessary to have preferences up to Full Council. Indeed, Members felt that this could undermine the decision making process, because Members who had no expertise or experience in Development Control would then be able to overturn or amend a Committee decision which had been taken by the Members regularly involved in planning decision making and trained in it.

Again, both of these proposals would involve a small change to Procedure Rules, to be drafted.

Committee Timetable

11. The Constitution SIG agreed with the suggestion that the new structure should be implemented from 1st January next. The SIG suggests that the Council meeting in October should be asked both to agree the detailed arrangements and the constitutional changes, and also appoint to the new parent Committee so that Members are aware when they will be involved in meetings in good time. Leaving appointments until the December Council meeting would not give Members adequate notice.

12. Officers have prepared an indicative timetable of meetings to give some idea of the pattern and frequency of meetings attached as Annexe 2.2. The SIG did not want fixed meetings for the new D-C Management committee, but that these should be called as and when necessary before the next available A or B meeting.

Decision

13. The Executive is asked for it views on;

(a) The proposal for a budget bid to improve Town and Parish Council access to electronic information (paragraph 4 above)

(b) Member substitutions on the new committees and panels (paragraph 10a)

(c) References up to the main Committee and/ or Council (paragraph 10b)

(d) The proposed timetable of meetings (paragraph 12)

Background Papers (CEx)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Robin Pellow Telephone: 01483 523222

E-mail: rpellow@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/Executive/2005-06/127