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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 14/11/2001


Constitution of Area Committees and Relationship with District/Borough Councils

1. The Local Government Act 2000 specifies that Area Committees with delegated powers can only include County Members for those electoral divisions in the area. They are therefore not politically balanced. They can also include District Members, who may be given voting rights. Where both local authorities bring powers, the County can appoint either Executive or local Members but the District can only appoint Executive Members because the area covered comprises the whole of the district.

2. On highways and transportation issues, the County Council is proposing that District councillors would have the option to be members of the Area Committee and have voting rights from the outset. However, it is suggested in the County’s consultation paper that these rights “would be reviewed after a year and could be extended by agreement, in the light of the District Council’s agreement to add functions or responsibilities, thus turning the Area Committee into a joint committee”.

3. If District Council’s take up the option to become co-opted members of the Area Committees and to exercise voting rights, it is proposed that the number of District Members should be equal to those of the County councillors and that the District Members should appoint a spokesperson. Since the Chairman and Vice-Chairman would be County Members, the County would exercise the casting vote if necessary. As it will not be permissible for the County Council to field substitutes, it is proposed that this should apply also to the District Council’s and that if possible a pairing system should be adopted to maintain balance.

4. It is possible that other partners might be invited to join Area Committees if they were willing to include some of their services in the remit of the Committee. A forward programme for each Area Committee will be sent to the relevant Districts and other partners. Where an item was of particular interest to the District Council, with the agreement of the Chairman of the Area Committee, the District Council could nominate a spokesperson in advance to speak to the matter from the floor. It is understood that the frequency of meetings is likely to be in the region of 8-12 per annum.