Agenda and draft minutes

Democratic Services Committee - Friday, 17th June, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Hybrid - Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron / remotely via video conferrence

Contact: Nia Jones 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillors Elizabeth Evans, Caryl Roberts and Mark Strong apolgised for their inability to attend the meeting.

2.

Disclosure of personal / prejudicial interests

Minutes:

None.

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting and to consider any matters arising pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED to confirm as a true record the minutes of the meeting held 7th March 2022.

 

Matters arising

Item 4 – it was noted that the provision of ICT equipment would be reviewed at a later meeting.

Item14 – it was noted that ‘CLIC version2’ has now been rolled out and guidance notes provided to all Members.

4.

Democratic Services Committee Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Minutes:

Members noted the Terms of Reference outlining the functions of the Committee.

5.

Report on Members' Schedule of Remuneration 2022/23 - matters referred for consideration by the Council pdf icon PDF 359 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Lead Officer for Democratic Services presented a report to the Committee, noting that the Members’ Schedule of Remuneration for 2022/23 was approved by Council on 20th May 2022 with the exception of paragraph 8, bullet point 6 and 7 of the covering report which relate to remote attendance by Councillors that are not Members of a Committee and prior authorisation for in person attendance at conferences, seminars, external meetings and training events; and paragraph 15.1 of the Schedule which relates to prior authorisation for overnight stays.  The above matters were deferred to the Democratic Services Committee for consideration.

 

It was noted that the Council has invested in equipment to facilitate remote attendance, implementing phase 1 in accordance with the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021, and that phase 2 would incorporate an app which would make the system more effective, overcoming early technical issues.

 

During the Council meetings held on 23rd September 2021, the Council committed to being a Diverse Council, facilitated by the flexibility remote attendance offers to a wider range of Members. This was promoted within an Information Booklet for Candidates which several Councillors have benefitted from. 

 

The Council has also committed to reducing its carbon footprint, which will also benefit from reduced travelling, as well as financial savings as a result of reduced travelling.

 

It was noted that paragraph 15.1 of the Schedule has been in place since 2017, in order to ensure that where there is justification from travelling that value for money is ensured via procurement services.

 

Members emphasised the importance of leading by example, noting that hybrid meetings are the way forward and that reduced travel should be encouraged; however there were concerns that it would be difficult for new Members to get to know each and build relationships without being sat around a table.  It was also noted that there is room for improvement in ensuring that Members do not lose connections to meetings due to insufficient bandwidth and other technical issues. Members also noted that they may wish to attend meetings which they are not Members of in order to get a wider perspective of matters that affected their constituents.

 

Eifion Evans, Chief Executive confirmed that Members would be able to attend such meetings remotely, however they would not be eligible to claim travel expenses to attend meetings that they are not Members of, due to the alternative solutions now being available to them.  Council employees have already been challenged to identify savings in this area in order to be able to protect front-line services.

 

Several Members noted that they do not claim travelling expenses for personal and ethical reasons as it is a privilege to represent their wards; however it was also acknowledged that that in order to promote a diverse Council some Members may need to claim payment, and that encouraging Members to engage with the hybrid system was important in order to ensure that people are not put-off becoming Councillors.

 

Members also asked about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Report on protocols for remote attendance and broadcasting of meetings pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Manager for Democratic Services presented the report to the Committee noting that the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 requires councils to make and publish arrangements in relation to hybrid meetings and the broadcasting of proceedings.

 

It was noted that the Welsh Government are currently consulting on a guidance document relating to the above, and that any amendments resulting from the consultation would be reported via the appropriate channels. In addition, it is expected that the protocols be updated as a result of phase 2 of the installation of the hybrid system.

 

Members asked the Monitoring Officer if the Standing Orders of the Council would need to be amended, and it was confirmed that this would not be required as the protocols reflect current practices whether attendance is in person or remotely.

 

Following discussion, it was agreed to recommend that Council approves the protocols, as set out in Appendix A.

7.

To consider a forward work programme for 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 7 KB

Minutes:

Members considered the Forward Work Programme for 2022-23, noting that there will be opportunities for Members to influence the content of the programme during the remainder of the municipal year via the Chairman of the Committee.

8.

Any other matter which the Chairman decides is for the urgent attention of the Committee

Minutes:

None.