Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Executive held on 12/07/2005
The Original Suggestions Made by the Constitution Special Interest Group
The original suggestions made by the SIG were as follows:-
onsidered at the Executive meeting on 7th February 2005].
Organisational Culture of the Overview and Scrutiny Process
Members have drawn attention to a greater degree of informality at meetings of Overview and Scrutiny Committees at other Councils. They have seen examples of closer member/officer working relationships, and an increased role for members in researching issues and reporting on them. Whilst recognising that the roles of officers and members are different, the Special Interest Group still feels that Waverley could benefit from this less formal mode of working.
The SIG concluded that generally Waverley had comprehensive and well-written agendas and reports, but suggested some detailed improvements including:-
(i) setting out corporate objectives on all Overview and Scrutiny agendas to help focus members and the publics mind on key issues;
(ii) members being encouraged to give notice to officers in advance of a meeting of questions that they wish to raise;
(iii) less formality in the setting of meetings, whilst acknowledging the constraints of Waverley’s current Council Chamber layout or meet in less formal settings;
(iv) meeting in workshop mode;
(v) an informal performance improvement group;
(vi) involving more members of the public;
(vii) on declaration of interests, members felt that the process could be streamlined, and the Standards Committee has already made efforts to encourage this at Waverley;
(viii) an annual review report by all three Overview and Scrutiny committees to be submitted to Council; and
(ix) relaxing the need for Overview and Scrutiny Committees to obtain Council approval to setting up Sub-Committees.
2. The SIG felt that in the last year Overview and Scrutiny Committees had achieved considerable success in focusing their efforts on a limited number of major reviews. They drew attention to the very successful work on issues as diverse as the A3 Hindhead proposals, the review of Development Control and less broad but equally important issues such as the review of the Mayoralty and fly-tipping.
3. The SIG did discuss ways of developing this further, and suggested that some form of annual review by all three committees, and a look forward to the following year’s work programme, could be submitted to Council and Council could then be given an opportunity to look across the work of all three committees to see how they could be co-ordinated better and contribute still further to policy development.
4. The SIG discussed the relationship of Special Interest Groups and Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committees and agreed this is a continuing area of uncertainty. However, the SIG felt it would be more fruitful to concentrate on developing practical ways of moving forward on this issue, and that the Council should adopt a flexible stance as to what was the best format for looking at a particular issue. The SIG also suggested relaxing the need for Overview and Scrutiny Committees to obtain Council approval to setting up Sub-Committees.
5. The SIG noted that Overview and Scrutiny Committees had made progress in the area of performance monitoring, but felt that some form of informal performance improvement group of members could help focus member attention on areas where Waverley could improve.