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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/02/2005
Officers' Comments and Recommendations by the SIG



Annexe 3

WAVERLEY PUBLIC SPEAKING SCHEME

OFFICERS’ COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE SIG
Good Points About the Scheme
Feed back from Members appears to be positive.
Committee appears to be better informed to make a decision
Higher customer satisfaction levels being experienced irrespective of outcome.
Three minutes has been unpopular with the speakers but, appears to be a fair amount of time and able to get the point over
Overall despite the ‘hiccups’ with the system the public have been happy with the scheme
Officer Comments about
the pilot schemeRecommendations for Improvement
Speakers arriving at Committee when they have not registered Clarify instructions and guidance to speakers. Allowing speaking at Committees where items are deferred will remove significant confusion.
Two persons logged to object. Had to advise second person they could not speak
Clear instructions on what number to use when logging a wish to speak and the processProcedures for logging speakers tightened up. Committee services to have access to Public Speaking Spreadsheet. Closure date to be added to spreadsheet. Procedures to be updated.
    Letters to include instructions on reporting to a member of Committee Services and at what time (this should allow enough time to explain any queries), to also include details that if referred to DC/Council what the date of the meeting is and that you cannot distribute written representations. Instruction notes that are given at Committee – a copy to go with the letter.
    Several speakers maintain that three minutes is not long enoughNo change recommended.
    Speakers have objected to not having another opportunity if a site visit is decidedRecommended that scheme be changed to accommodate this.
    There is a short timescale to log to speak if a matter is referred to Development Control Committee/ CouncilSpeakers at Area Committees be invited to attend Development Control without the need to repeat the invitation process.

    Problems Experienced with the Scheme
    Suggestions for Improvement
    Speakers resent that only one objector can speak when there may be several bodies objecting on a major application There is an issue for most major applications e.g. David Lloyd where the number of issues might generate a need for further time or more speakers. This might occur where objectors might have different concerns because they have different relationships to the site. There are issues around how we might define these applications and how we allocate the speaking slots and the time limits for speaking. It is anticipated that the Development Control Consultative Forum will address this issue.
    Chairman willing to bend the rules and the potential for setting precedentsChairman need to be guarded about departing from the rules of the scheme that may open challenge from the ombudsman or judicial review. Review of scheme should assist in clarifying scheme and avoid problems.
    Parish/Town Council Representatives not expressing the views of the Parish/ Town Council and their own opinionsThe representative of the Town/Parish Council to be registered and confirmed by the Town /Parish Clerk.
    Members informing a speaker that they can speak when deferred for a site visit – lack of Member trainingChange to scheme will manage out this problem.
    From 6.30 p m a lot for one Member of staff to be assisting the speakers and answering questions from the Members – an extra Member of staff to assistMembers to be made aware of demands on officers immediately before a meeting to try and manage this problem out. Officers to streamline this process by giving more information in advance.
    The nine day notice to speak has proved to be impractical and created significant logistical difficulties, including unreasonably delaying the application process. This was changed to 2 clear working days before the meeting in liaison with the Modernising Planning SIG.That the "two clear day" deadline to register interest to speak is retained.

    comms/executive/2004-05/394