Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Hollinsworth Hall, Canalside Conference Centre, Marsh Lane, Huntworth, Bridgwater TA6 6LQ. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Email: democraticservicesteam@somerset.gov.uk 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair of the Council

To invite nominations and elect the Chair of the Council to serve until the Annual General Meeting in May 2025.

Decision:

Councillor Bill Revans proposed, which was duly seconded by Councillor John Hunt, that Councillor Mike Best be elected to Chair of Council for the remainder of the municipal year.

Minutes:

Councillor Lee Baker, Vice Chair of Council, invited nominations for the election of Chair of Council, to serve until the Annual General Meeting of Somerset Council in May 2025.

 

Councillor Bill Revans proposed, which was duly seconded by Councillor John Hunt, that Councillor Mike Best be elected as Chair of Council to serve until the next Annual General Meeting in May 2025.

 

The Chair then read and signed the formal Declaration of Acceptance of Office and received the Chain of Office:

"I, Mike Best, having been elected to the Office of Chair of Somerset Council, declare that I take that Office upon myself and will duly and faithfully fulfil the duties of it according to the best of my judgment and ability. I will now sign that declaration."

2.

Election of Vice Chair of the Council

To invite nominations and elect the Vice Chair of the Council to serve until the Annual General Meeting in May 2025.

Decision:

Councillor Mike Best proposed, which was duly seconded by Councillor David Fothergill, that Councillor Lee Baker be elected to Vice Chair of Council for the remainder of the municipal year.

Minutes:

Councillor Mike Best, Chair of Council invited nominations for the election of Vice Chair of Council, to serve until the Annual General Meeting of Somerset Council in May 2025.

 

Councillor Mike Best proposed, which was duly seconded by Councillor David Fothergill that Councillor Lee Baker be elected as Vice Chair of Council to serve until the next Annual General Meeting in May 2025.

 

The Vice Chair then read and signed the formal Declaration of Acceptance of Office and received the Chain of Office from the Chair:

"I, Lee Baker, having been elected to the Office of Vice Chair of Somerset Council, declare that I take that Office upon myself and will duly and faithfully fulfil the duties of it according to the best of my judgment and ability. I will now sign that declaration."

3.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Jason Baker, Adam Boyden, John Cook-Woodman, Nick Cottle, Tom Deakin, Martin Dimery, Andy Dingwall, Sarah Dyke, Andrew Govier, Susannah Hart, Edric Hobbs, Helen Kay, Val Keitch, Jenny Kenton, Frances Nicholson, Kathy Pearce, Tom Power, Steven Pugsley, Mike Rigby, Jo Roundell Greene, Peter Seib, Gill Slocombe, Brian Smedley and Jeny Snell.

 

Although apologies had been received, Councillors Baker, Keitch, Slocombe and Smedley attended the meeting online.

4.

Minutes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 434 KB

To approve the minutes from the previous meeting.

Minutes:

Resolved that the minutes of Full Council held on 23 April 2024 be confirmed as a correct record.

5.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 483 KB

To receive and note any declarations of interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

(The other registrable interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, arising from membership of City, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes: City, Town & Parish Twin Hatters - Somerset Councillors 2023 )

Minutes:

Councillorspresent atthe meetingdeclared thefollowing personalinterests in their capacity as a Councillor of a Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-

SOMERSET COUNCILLOR

CITY, TOWN AND/OR PARISH COUNCIL

Steve Ashton

Crewkerne Town Council / Hinton St George Parish Council / West and Middle Chinnock Parish Council

Suria Aujla

Bridgwater Town Council

Lee Baker

Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish Council

Marcus Barr

Wellington Town Council

Mike Best

Crewkerne Town Council

Alan Bradford

North Petherton Town Council

Theo Butt Philip

Wells City Council

Simon Carswell

Street Parish Council

Norman Cavill

West Monkton Parish Council

Peter Clayton

Burnham Highbridge Town Council

Adam Dance

South Petherton Parish Council

Caroline Ellis

Taunton Town Council

Ben Ferguson

Axbridge Town Council

Bob Filmer

Brent Knoll Parish Council

Andrew Govier

Wellington Town Council

Pauline Ham

Axbridge Town Council

Philip Ham

Coleford Parish Council

Alastair Hendry

Burnham on Sea and Highbridge Town Council

Ross Henley

Wellington Town Council

John Hunt

Bishop’s Hull Parish Council

Andy Kendall

Yeovil Town Council

Tim Kerley

Somerton Town Council

Marcus Kravis

Minehead Town Council

Tony Lock

Yeovil Town Council

Martin Lovell

Shepton Mallet Town Council

Mike Murphy

Burnham Highbridge Town Council

Graham Oakes

Yeovil Town Council / Yeovil Without Parish Council

Sue Osborne

Ilminster Town Council

Evie Potts-Jones

Yeovil Town Council

Wes Read

Yeovil Town Council

Leigh Redman

Bridgwater Town Council

Tony Robbins

Wells City Council

Diogo Rodrigues

Bridgwater Town Council

Peter Seib

Brympton Parish Council / Chilthorne Domer Parish Council

Heather Shearer

Street Parish Council

Federica Smith-Roberts

Taunton Town Council

Andy Soughton

Yeovil Town Council

Richard Wilkins

Curry Rivel Parish Council

Dave Woan

Yeovil Town Council

Ros Wyke

Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish Council

 

6.

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 107 KB

The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

We are now live webcasting most of our committee meetings and you are welcome to view and listen to the discussion. The link to each webcast will be available on the meeting webpage, please see details under ‘click here to join online meeting’.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Public questions were received from:-

·       Sigurd Reimers – Climate

·       David Redgewell – Public Transport

·       Petition to save Yeovil Bus Station, toilets and waiting room from closure

·       Rosa Kell – Public Transport

·       Nigel Behan – Social Housing

The questions and responses provided are attached to the minutes in Annex A.

7.

Chair's Announcements pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To note the Chair’s Announcements including events detailed on the Chair’s Information Sheet.

Minutes:

The Chair of Council, Councillor Mike Best, referred to the events detailed on the Chair’s Information Sheet, circulated and published with the agenda.

 

Council observed a minute’s silence in memory of former Sedgemoor District Councillor John Lang, who had sadly passed away.  Councillors paid tribute to him at the meeting, including Councillors Alan Bradford and Bill Revans.

 

The Chair of Council welcomed the newly elected Councillor Rob Reed to his first meeting of Full Council.

 

The Chair of Council also highlighted the following:-

·       Recent communications had been issued to the Town and Parish Councils regarding the Community Awards.

·       There would be a special meeting of Full Council held on 18 June 2024 to debate the Implementation of the Gravity Enterprise Zone.

·       The Chair of Council also advised that all future meetings of Full Council would commence at 1pm with exception of the budget meeting, which would start at 10am.

8.

Octagon Theatre - Addition to Capital Programme pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Recommendations from the Leader and the Executive.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor Andy Soughton.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to add the revised Octagon project to the Council Capital Programme, on the proviso that a build contract was not awarded and build work did not commence until a devolution deal had been finalised with Yeovil Town Council.

Minutes:

The Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture, Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts, introduced the report on the Octagon Theatre and the addition to the Capital Programme which the Executive considered and endorsed at its meeting on 8 May 2024.

 

The report detailed the opportunity to bid for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Grant that had been offered and was now progressing well against a smaller refurbishment ambition.  It was a requirement of the bid that the scheme was added back to the Council’s Capital Programme. 

 

The report also noted that as part of the wider devolution conversation with Yeovil Town Council, they had requested the asset and service transfer of the Octagon Theatre.  This proposal would be considered by the Council’s Asset Management Group.

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Some councillors raised concern on supporting the recommendations, which related to fundraising, ticket levies and lack of information.

·       Concern was raised that Somerset Council would bear the financial risk.

The Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture advised that the report was asking for the project to be added back into the Capital Programme and she gave further information on the finances.

·       Some councillors raised concern that Yeovil Town Council and the residents of Yeovil would be left paying for an asset that was used by the whole county.

·       Councillors queried whether the details of the business case had been decided.

·       Concern was raised on the viability of the theatre.

·       Councillors queried how the project would appear in the budget due to concerns raised on safeguarding the budget.

·       Councillors praised the Lead Member for their work on the project and congratulated Somerset Council for its great arts scene.

·       Councillors requested that regular update reports were brought back to committee when the business case had been decided.

·       Councillors were pleased to see what could be achieved with the right funding.

 

Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor Andy Soughton.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to add the revised Octagon project to the Council Capital Programme, on the proviso that a build contract was not awarded and build work did not commence until a devolution deal had been finalised with Yeovil Town Council.

9.

First year review of the Council's Constitution pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Recommendations from the Constitution and Governance Committee.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Councillor Ross Henley proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor Tim Kerley.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to:-

      i.         Agree the proposed changes to Part B – Public Participation as shown in Paper A and the tracked changes in Appendix 1 of Paper A

     ii.         Agree the proposed changes to Part C – Council Procedural Rules as shown in Paper B and the tracked changes in Appendix 1 of Paper B

   iii.         Agree the proposed changes to Part D4-Licensing and Regulatory Committee Terms of Reference, Part D5 – Licensing sub-committee hearing procedure and specific delegations for the Licensing Functions as shown in Paper C and the tracked changes in Appendices 2, 5 and 7 of Paper C

    iv.         Agree the proposed changes to Part D8 – Planning Committees Terms of Reference as shown in Paper D and the tracked changes in Appendices 4,5, 7 and 8 of Paper D. Note the further review work that Constitution and Governance Committee will undertake during 2024/25 as set out in Paper D.

      v.         Agree the proposed changes to Part I2 – Officer Scheme of Delegation as shown in Paper E and the tracked changes in Appendices 1 and 2 of Paper E

    vi.         Agree the proposed changes to Part I7 – Financial Regulations as shown in Appendix 1 of Paper F.

Minutes:

The Chair of the Constitution and Governance Committee, Councillor Ross Henley, introduced the report on the review of the Council’s Constitution which the Constitution and Governance Committee considered and endorsed at its meeting on 17 April 2024.

 

The report detailed the phased review of key elements of the Constitution which had been carried out over a series of working group meetings led by elected members and supported by officers from Democratic Services, Legal Services, Licensing and Planning.

 

The key areas of focus for the review included:-

·       Part B - Public Participation (Paper A)

·       Part C – Council Procedures (Paper B)

·       Parts D4 and D5 Licensing and Regulatory Committee Terms of Reference (Paper C)

·       Part D8 Planning Committee Terms of Reference (Paper D)

·       Part I2 Officer Scheme of Delegation (Paper E)

·       Part I7 Financial Regulations (Paper F)

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors spoke about the working groups and how they had been established.

·       Some councillors raised concern that the financial regulations had not been looked at as part of the working group review.

·       Councillors thanked the Chair of the Constitution and Governance Committee for allowing an in depth debate of the review at the last committee meeting.

 

Councillor Dave Mansell proposed an amendment, which was seconded by Councillor Bob Filmer.  The amendment had been brought forward based on the concerns raised on the process followed for the review, working groups and workshop:-

In Paper D, replace recommendations on Part D8 – Planning Committee Terms of Reference with the following new 2.1, 2):

·       Refer the proposed changes to Part D8 – Planning Committee Terms of Reference to Constitution and Governance Committee for further review after requesting feedback on the proposed changes from Council Members.

This change deleted current 2.1, 1), 1. and deleted and replaced 2.1, 2).

 

During the discussion on the amendment, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors queried the 2-day consultation period for planning applications, which needed looking into again as part of the next review.

·       Some councillors raised concern that the amendment was requesting changes that were contrary to what they wanted to achieve.

·       Councillors highlighted that a review on the Planning Committee Terms of Reference had just been carried out and had included feedback from all the Planning Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs, the Lead Member and many of the Planning Officers.

·       The Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets advised councillors on the huge amount of work that had been carried out as part of the review and the wide spectrum of people that had been involved.  The results produced from the review still might not be perfect, but the Constitution and Governance Committee had requested that the Terms of Reference be reviewed again in 6 months’ time.

·       Councillors wanted to get the process correct for planning applications.

·       Councillors talked through the planning process and that the 2-day period for consultation was enough time for councillors to give feedback.

·       Councillors spoke on other areas of concern which included non-determination.

·       Councillors from the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Appointments to Committees, Internal and Outside Boards and Panels and Calendar of Meetings pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Recommendations from political group leaders and the Monitoring Officer.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Councillor Liz Leyshon proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor David Fothergill.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to:-

Paper A

1)     Note the political balance of the Council and agree the proposed allocation of committee places as set out in this report and its appendices;

2)    Agree the terms of reference, size and quorum arrangements for all committees as set out in the Council’s Constitution, this report and its appendices;

3)    Continue to endorse the recommendation of the political group leaders and agree to continue to set aside the political balance rules for the Standards Committee and the four area-based Planning Committees and instead allocate places for those committees on the basis set out in Appendix 3;

4)    Approve the political group leaders’ nominations for the appointment of Chairs, Vice-Chairs, members and co-opted members to the Council’s committee and joint committees as set out in the Appointments Schedule (see Appendix 3);

5)    Delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the appropriate political group leader, to make in-year changes to committee and joint committee appointments (excluding the appointment of Chairs and Vice-Chairs) in accordance with the allocation of places to political groups by the Council and the wishes of the relevant political group leader.

Paper B

6)    Agree the appointment of members to internal, partnership and outside bodies for 2024/25 until the next Annual General Meeting, as set out in Appendix 1.

7)     Delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the political group leaders, to make in-year changes to internal, partnership and outside bodies appointments in accordance with the wishes of the relevant political group leader.

Paper C

8)    Approve the proposed calendar of meetings for Somerset Council from 22 May 2024 (set out in Appendix 1).

9)    Delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer to finalise and make any changes to the proposed meeting dates, times, meeting arrangements and meeting venues in consultation with the Chairs of the relevant committees.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer, David Clark, introduced the report which set out the proposed appointment of members to committee places, the proposed appointment of members to Outside Bodies and the proposed Calendar of Committee Meetings for the 2024-25 municipal year.

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors requested a review be carried out on the Outside Bodies.

·       Concern was raised on what reporting process was followed by the representations on the Outside Bodies.

 

Councillor Liz Leyshon proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor David Fothergill.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to:-

Paper A

1)     Note the political balance of the Council and agree the proposed allocation of committee places as set out in this report and its appendices;

2)    Agree the terms of reference, size and quorum arrangements for all committees as set out in the Council’s Constitution, this report and its appendices;

3)    Continue to endorse the recommendation of the political group leaders and agree to continue to set aside the political balance rules for the Standards Committee and the four area-based Planning Committees and instead allocate places for those committees on the basis set out in Appendix 3;

4)    Approve the political group leaders’ nominations for the appointment of Chairs, Vice-Chairs, members and co-opted members to the Council’s committee and joint committees as set out in the Appointments Schedule (see Appendix 3);

5)    Delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the appropriate political group leader, to make in-year changes to committee and joint committee appointments (excluding the appointment of Chairs and Vice-Chairs) in accordance with the allocation of places to political groups by the Council and the wishes of the relevant political group leader.

Paper B

6)    Agree the appointment of members to internal, partnership and outside bodies for 2024/25 until the next Annual General Meeting, as set out in Appendix 1.

7)     Delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the political group leaders, to make in-year changes to internal, partnership and outside bodies appointments in accordance with the wishes of the relevant political group leader.

Paper C

8)    Approve the proposed calendar of meetings for Somerset Council from 22 May 2024 (set out in Appendix 1).

9)    Delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer to finalise and make any changes to the proposed meeting dates, times, meeting arrangements and meeting venues in consultation with the Chairs of the relevant committees.

11.

Somerset Council Redundancies Requiring Full Council Approval pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Recommendations from the Special Members’ Panel and the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Councillor Bill Revans proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor Liz Leyshon.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to:-

2.1  Approve the redundancy costs for 49 posts as set out in Appendix A, as Full Council approval was required for costs that exceed £100,000.

2.2  Delegate authority to the Chief Executive to agree the final date of dismissal and the final redundancy packages, noting that such settlements would not exceed contractual redundancy pay or the payment required under statute to the Local Government Pension Scheme/NHS Pension Scheme.

2.3Approve the dismissal and redundancy costs of the Executive Director Corporate and Resources (Section 151 Officer) by reason of redundancy (voluntary) as per the recommendation of the Special Members Panel.

2.4Delegate authority to the Chief Executive to agree the final date of dismissal and the final redundancy package of the Executive Director Corporate and Resources (Section 151 Officer), noting that such settlement would not exceed contractual redundancy pay or the payment required under statute to the Local Government Pension Scheme

Minutes:

The Chief Execuitve, Duncan Sharkey, introduced the report which detailed the proposed dismissals by reason of redundancy in relation to the Voluntary Redundancy Scheme and the restructuring of Partnerships and Localities and Strategic Asset Management as part of the Local Government Reorganisation.

 

The report also detailed the role of Council in relation to the dismissals and requested delegation to the Head of Paid Service to finalise details of the payments associated with the redundancies, in line with appropriate legislation and policies.

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors thanked officers for all their hard work and service over the years.

·       Concern was raised on the levels of redundancy approved, especially for the Section 151 Officer and the downgrading of the post.

The Chief Executive advised that the Section 151 Officer would still form part of the senior management team and be part of any ‘top table’ discussions.

·       Concern was raised on the approval of redundancy for the Section 151 Officer especially during a financial emergency.

The Chief Executive advised that the post being made redundant was the Executive Director for Resources and Corporate Services, not the position of Section 151 Officer, as that was a statutory role.

·       Councillors requested clarification on the pension strain part of the redundancy payments.

·       Councillors highlighted their regret of the Council being in the financial position to require staff redundancies.

·       Concern was raised that the structure had not been sorted prior to redundancies being approved.

 

Councillor Bill Revans proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor Liz Leyshon.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to:-

2.1  Approve the redundancy costs for 49 posts as set out in Appendix A, as Full Council approval was required for costs that exceed £100,000.

2.2  Delegate authority to the Chief Executive to agree the final date of dismissal and the final redundancy packages, noting that such settlements would not exceed contractual redundancy pay or the payment required under statute to the Local Government Pension Scheme/NHS Pension Scheme.

2.3Approve the dismissal and redundancy costs of the Executive Director Corporate and Resources (Section 151 Officer) by reason of redundancy (voluntary) as per the recommendation of the Special Members Panel.

2.4Delegate authority to the Chief Executive to agree the final date of dismissal and the final redundancy package of the Executive Director Corporate and Resources (Section 151 Officer), noting that such settlement would not exceed contractual redundancy pay or the payment required under statute to the Local Government Pension Scheme

12.

Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Recommendations from the Scrutiny Committee Corporate and Resources and the Chairs of the five scrutiny committees.

Decision:

Councillor Bob Filmer proposed the recommendations which were second by Councillor Leigh Redman.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to approve that:-

1)     The current structure of 5 scrutiny committees to remain in place, with a further scrutiny review to be conducted by the scrutiny chairs in late 2024/early 2025 following any potential service restructure.

2)    The scrutiny manager was tasked with preparing a revised and improved scrutiny report template, which enabled clearer and more concise presentation of reports, a standard consistency of reports across all 5 scrutiny committees, a clearer link between committee recommendations onto the Executive/Executive Member(s) and ensuring service areas clearly demonstrated where scrutiny was able to add value.

3)    That all 5 scrutiny committees adopted a consistent approach to dealing with information only items, in order that agendas were kept clear for items with specific recommendations and the opportunity for the committees to add value. This information also to include details of any delegated decisions the scrutiny chair had been consulted on.

4)    To bolster the links between all 5 scrutiny committees and the Executive by ensuring clear communication between the parties and encourage increased opportunities for committee chairs to update the Executive on areas of focus and present any recommendations/proposals the committee have agreed. Also for the Democratic Services team to establish a central record of all formal scrutiny recommendations and the responses to them.

5)    The scrutiny manager to liaise with the 5 Group Leaders in advance of the AGM Council meeting (May 2024) in order to provide detailed attendance information on each of the Committee’s membership, to ensure committee membership and substitutes reflected maximum engagement and consistency.

6)    The scrutiny manager to liaise with the 5 Group Leaders to ensure a consistent, timely and wherever possible consistent approach to scrutiny substitutes.

7)     Elected committee membership to remain as 13 individual members.

8)    To continue with the monthly meetings of the 5 Scrutiny Chairs, Vice Chairs and scrutiny manager.

9)    To continue with the model of an Executive Director aligned to each Committee as the lead service officer and to encourage continued attendance from all relevant Executive Members.

10)To support the continuation of a dedicated scrutiny resource from the Democratic Services team, to allow for more effective and efficient scrutiny and increase scrutiny opportunities, whilst ensuring resilience within the officer cohort.

Minutes:

The Chair of Scrutiny Committee for Corporate and Resources, Councillor Bob Filmer, introduced the report on the Scrutiny Review which was considered and endorsed by the Scrutiny Committee for Corporate and Resources at its meeting on 25 April 2024 and the Executive at its meeting on 8 May 2024.

 

The report detailed the work carried out throughout the review and highlighted certain areas of focus which included:-

·       Committee member engagement

·       Scrutiny agendas, reports and meeting cycle

·       Scrutiny staff resource

·       Improving the link between Scrutiny and Execuitve

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       The Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Resources and Performance thanked the Scrutiny Committees for all their hard work especially the work carried out through the budget setting process.

·       The Leader of the Council thanked councillors and officers for their work on the review.

·       Councillors valued the work of the Scrutiny Committees and that they formed an essential part of the democratic pathway.

·       Councillors queried whether the dedicated Scrutiny Resource would be retained throughout the restructure.

 

Councillor Bob Filmer proposed the recommendations which were second by Councillor Leigh Redman.

 

Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to approve that:-

1)     The current structure of 5 scrutiny committees to remain in place, with a further scrutiny review to be conducted by the scrutiny chairs in late 2024/early 2025 following any potential service restructure.

2)    The scrutiny manager was tasked with preparing a revised and improved scrutiny report template, which enabled clearer and more concise presentation of reports, a standard consistency of reports across all 5 scrutiny committees, a clearer link between committee recommendations onto the Executive/Executive Member(s) and ensuring service areas clearly demonstrated where scrutiny was able to add value.

3)    That all 5 scrutiny committees adopted a consistent approach to dealing with information only items, in order that agendas were kept clear for items with specific recommendations and the opportunity for the committees to add value. This information also to include details of any delegated decisions the scrutiny chair had been consulted on.

4)    To bolster the links between all 5 scrutiny committees and the Executive by ensuring clear communication between the parties and encourage increased opportunities for committee chairs to update the Executive on areas of focus and present any recommendations/proposals the committee have agreed. Also for the Democratic Services team to establish a central record of all formal scrutiny recommendations and the responses to them.

5)    The scrutiny manager to liaise with the 5 Group Leaders in advance of the AGM Council meeting (May 2024) in order to provide detailed attendance information on each of the Committee’s membership, to ensure committee membership and substitutes reflected maximum engagement and consistency.

6)    The scrutiny manager to liaise with the 5 Group Leaders to ensure a consistent, timely and wherever possible consistent approach to scrutiny substitutes.

7)     Elected committee membership to remain as 13 individual members.

8)    To continue with the monthly meetings of the 5 Scrutiny Chairs, Vice Chairs and scrutiny  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Annual Report of the five Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To receive and note the annual report from the five scrutiny committees for their work undertaken during 2023/24.

Minutes:

The five Chairs of Scrutiny, Councillor Leigh Redman, Councillor Gwil Wren, Councillor Bob Filmer, Councillor Gill Slocombe and Councillor Henry Hobhouse, introduced each of their annual reports, which detailed the activity of each of the five Scrutiny Committees since vesting day.

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       The Chair of each of the five Scrutiny Committees introduced their annual reports.

·       The Lead Members thanked each of their associated Scrutiny Committee for their hard work over the past year.

 

The Council noted the report.

14.

Key Decisions taken since the last Council Meeting pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive and note the report from the Executive, the Chief Executive and the Monitoring Officer of key decisions taken since the last meeting on 24 April 2024.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bill Revans, introduced the report which included a summary of the key decisions taken by the Leader and Executive.

 

The Council noted the report.

14a

Annual Report of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To receive and note the annual report.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Governance and Communications, Councillor Bill Revans, introduced his annual report.

 

Member Questions were received from:-

·       Councillor Leigh Redman – Debate not Hate Update.

 

The questions and responses are attached to the minutes in Annex B.

 

The Council noted the report.

15.

Annual Report of the Constitution and Governance Committee pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To receive and note the annual report.

Minutes:

The Chair of the Constitution and Governance Committee, Councillor Ross Henley, introduced the annual report of the Constitution and Governance Committee.

 

During the discussion, the following point was raised:-

·       Councillors on the Constitution and Governance Committee urged all councillors to keep up to date with the items being brought to committee to ensure they gave feedback into any future reviews.

 

The Council noted the report.

16.

Annual Report of the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To receive and note the annual report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel, Councillor Heather Shearer, introduced the annual report of the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel.

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors were pleased with the annual report.

·       Councillors highlighted that more resource was required in the former West Somerset Council area.

·       Councillors highlighted some incidents and how good the response times had been.

·       Councillors queried whether the new Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) would make any significant changes.

The Chair of the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel advised that the new PCC was aware that the resource was very Bristol focused, so would be looking to diversify.

 

The Council noted the report.

17.

Questions from Councillors to the Executive

Councillors are required to give notice of any such question in writing to the Monitoring Officer no later than 12noon providing three clear working days’ notice before the meeting, in order to be guaranteed a written response. For this meeting the deadline is 12noon on 16 May 2024.

 

Details of any questions received will be circulated to all councillors prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.

 

Any question received after 12noon on 16 May 2024 and no later than 9am 22 May 2024 may only receive a verbal response at the meeting or the Chair may direct them to the appropriate committee or the next meeting of the Council.

 

Questions may be asked without notice and councillors are limited to one minute to put their question. Supplementary questions can only be asked with the consent of the Chair. The Chair will determine the number of questions asked without notice and the total time allocated for this item.

 

Councillors are reminded of the opportunities outside of the Council meeting to raise matters directly with the Leader of the Council, Executive Lead Members or Directors. In addition, Councillors can raise questions at meetings of the Executive.

Minutes:

The Chair of Council, Councillor Mike Best, invited questions from councillors for the Leader and the Executive.

 

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

Lead Member for Transport and Digital

·       Councillors requested an update on the rural broadband project and whether it was on track for completion in 2025.

Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change

·       Councillors thanked the Lead Member for the work being carried out on tree planting and the information provided by officers.

Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets

·       Councillors thanked the Lead Member for the work carried out on the town deal.