Agenda and draft minutes

General Purposes Committee - Tuesday, 21st September, 2021 6.30 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

GP30/21

Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Lewis, Pope, Rands and Scott.  Councillor Holden was not present.

GP31/21

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by members in items on the agenda in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct. For any advice on declarations of interest, please contact the Monitoring Office before the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests declared at the meeting.

GP32/21

Notification of Persons Registered to Speak pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To note any Visiting Members or members of the public wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18 or 19, and which item(s) they wish to speak on.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Dr Hall had registered to speak on agenda items 5 and 6.

GP33/21

Minutes of the Meeting dated 22 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members reviewed the minutes.  No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 22 July 2021 be approved as a correct record.

GP34/21

Electoral Review: Council Size Submissions pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Clarke, Head of Policy and Governance introduced the report as set out in the agenda.

 

Registered Speakers: Councillor Dr Hall.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       A proposal was made and agreed to amend the first paragraph of the analysis under the Community Leadership section (Appendix A – page 44 of the report) as follows:

Generally Councillors fulfil their representational role with elected members by sitting on committees at the council, and taking part in working groups as required, canvassing the opinions of their electors through social media, on the doorstep and meetings with local stakeholders (e.g. community and business leaders) and communicating Council decisions and political discussions that affect them.  For many Councillors this makes up the bulk of their work.”

-       It appeared from the responses given, the general consensus was either for a small reduction in the number of Councillors or that the current number was about right. 

-       There was a suggestion for an amendment to better reflect the different ways Councillors undertook their casework.  It was proposed and agreed that the suggested form of words would sit better under the reasoning section of the report rather than within the analysis section of Casework (Appendix A - page 45 of the report).  The text to be included as follows:

“Members deal with casework in different ways within the authority, and this is very much dependent on the person.  There is no formal requirement for members to handle casework in a particular way.  Some Councillors do take a very hands on approach to resolving casework, spending considerable time and effort to go the extra mile for their residents. In the consultation it was clear that many residents wished some Councillors were more active in this task and having a good supply of Councillors will enable us to continue to do this practically.”

-       It was suggested that something on accessibility and workload should be included in the reasoning section (Appendix A – Page 36 of the report).  It would also be important to encourage a more diverse make-up of the Council. 

-       It was recognised that it was unlikely that the role would be practical for most of the electorate as a full time occupation.  It was also recognised that on occasions the work involved was a full time job.  It would be difficult to strike the right balance in order to encourage a wider range of people to become a Councillor.

-       The Council welcomed any measures that would encourage greater diversity.

-       It was proposed and agreed to include something along the following lines:

“A greater workload for Councillors is likely to make the role less attractive to those in full time employment and those with child care responsibilities.  We are concerned that this would have a disproportionate impact on younger people and women who are often those involved in full time work/childcare responsibilities already.”

-       The reasoning proposed and agreed at this meeting would go forward to Full Council.  ...  view the full minutes text for item GP34/21

GP35/21

Whole Council Elections pdf icon PDF 210 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Clarke, Head of Policy and Governance introduced the report as set out in the agenda.

 

Registered Speakers: Councillor Dr Hall.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       There was concern that a significant amount of education on how all out elections worked would be needed to ensure the electorate both knew and understood the process.

-       Many other Councils already used all out elections.

-       Candidates moved/resigned etc. but the process of replacing them would be the same.  It was therefore unclear as to why all out elections were deemed to be more complicated than elections by thirds. 

-       It was suggested that understanding multi-candidate voting was more complicated for some people.

-       It was confirmed that only two authorities in Kent still did elections by thirds, TWBC and Maidstone.

 

RESOLVED – That results of the consultation be noted and that the matter be referred to a specially convened meeting of Full Council on 6 October 2021.

 

 

 

 

GP36/21

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To consider any other items with the Chairman decides are urgent, for reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

GP37/21

Date of Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the next scheduled meeting is Tuesday 19 October 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 19 October 2021 at 6:30pm.