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Agenda and minutes

Democratic Services Committee
Thursday, 6th July, 2017 2.00 pm

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall

Contact: Marie Russell  Committee Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Request to record the Meeting from Wrexham.com

Minutes:

The Chair commented that a letter had been received from Wrexham.com requesting that they be allowed to record the proceedings of this Committee  meeting.  In accordance with Standing Order 45 (i) of the Council’s Standing Order, proceedings of meetings may not be broadcast in any way by the press or public without the prior permission of the Chair.  He  had decided to seek the views of Members of the Committee prior to making his decision. 

 

The Chair invited Rob Taylor, Wrexham.com to briefly address the meeting and respond to Members’ questions.  He said his request to record the proceedings was part of Wrexham.com’s aim to encourage more open democracy within Wrexham.  In this instance he did not intend to broadcast the recording but to test recently purchased equipment.

 

Members referred to the advantages of making meetings more open and accountable but had some concerns over the editing of footage and the filming of people within the public gallery.

 

After taking account of the views expressed by Members, the Chair decided to allow Wrexham.com to record the proceedings of today’s meeting and requested a meeting with Wrexham.com to ascertain the outcome of the test recording.

2.

Apology for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Mike Dixon.

3.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 March 2017.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2017 were submitted.

 

AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 March 2017 be signed as a correct record.

4.

Declarations of Personal Interest, if any.

Minutes:

Agenda Item 7 – Members’ Remuneration:   Councillors William Baldwin, T Alan Edwards, Derek Wright, David A Bithell, Mark Pritchard and Robert Walsh indicated that they would be declaring a personal interest in Agenda Item 5 – Members’ Remuneration.  The personal interest was prejudicial but all claimed the exemption as contained in paragraph 12(2)(b)(iv) of the Member Code of Conduct.

5.

Consultation under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 - Dates and Times of Meetings

Minutes:

In accordance with the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 and the decision taken by Annual Council on 24 May 2017, Members were requested to review the proposed dates and timings of Democratic Services Committee meetings with a view to reporting back to Council in September any adjustments they wished to make to the draft timetable. 

 

AGREED – That the timetable of meetings be accepted without amendment.

6.

Introduction to the Democratic Services Committee

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services. (oral item)

 

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services gave verbal report on the role of the Democratic Services Committee within the Council’s political management structure, particularly its role in developing the Authority’s member support and training programmes. 

 

AGREED – That the information be noted.

7.

Member Development Champion pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report (HCCS/49/17) to enable consideration to be given to nominating a Member Development Champion from with the Members of the Democratic Services Committee in accordance with paragraph (b) of the Terms of Reference.

 

AGREED – That Councillor Derek Wright be nominated Member Development Champion for the 2017/18 Municipal Year.

8.

Members' Remuneration pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which enabled consideration to be given to the implications of amending the bandings in respect of Senior or Civic Salaries in accordance with the resolution of Council on 22 March 2017.

 

In introducing the report, the Head of Democratic Services reminded Members that the level of remuneration for Senior Members was determined by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW).

 

During discussion, the following matters were raised in particular:

 

·         With reference to the Senior Salaries paid to Executive Board Members, the Committee was informed that no Local Authority within Wales had introduced differential salary levels dependent upon their individual Lead Member portfolio.  Two Local Authorities paid Senior Salary holders at the lower level within their Group.

 

·         Several Members referred to the financial savings that would be achieved by the Council if all Senior and Civic Salaries were paid at the lowest level as set by the IRPW.

 

·         A number of Members raised concerns that the IRPW had not introduced any discretion for setting the salaries for Council Leaders, Deputy Leaders and Leaders of the Opposition and suggested that written representations be made the IRPW and/or the Wales Local Government Association on this matter. 

 

·         The Leader of the Council commented that representatives from the IRPW would be visiting Wrexham Council in mid-September 2017 as part of their preparation for determining the rate of payments of the Members’ Remuneration Scheme for 2018/19.  He suggested that Councillors could raise their concerns directly with them at that time.  The IRPW was required to take into account the representations which it received on the draft before issuing its final version of the report in February 2018. 

 

·         It was suggested that a Task and Finish Group be set up to further consider the implications of amending the bandings in respect of Senior or Civic Salaries.

 

AGREED - 

 

(i)         That the report be noted and to recommend to Council that, when setting the level of Senior and Civic Salaries to Members, the lowest level of remuneration as set out by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) be paid.

 

(ii)        That a Democratic Services Committee Task and Finish Group be established to enable further consideration to be given to the implications of amending the bandings in respect of Senior or Civic Salaries.  The T&F Group to report their findings back to the November 2017 meeting of this Committee.

 

(iii)       That the following Members be appointed onto the Task and Finish Group:

 

Councillor  M C King OBE,          Councillor Carrie Harper

Councillor  Andrew Atkinson      Councillor Beverley Parry-Jones

Councillor T Alan Edwards         Councillor Derek Wright

 

(Councillors William Baldwin, Dana Davies, T Alan Edwards, Robert Walsh and Derek Wright declared personal and prejudicial interests in this item, being in receipt of a Senior Salary, but claimed the exemption as set out in paragraphs 12 (2)(b) of the Member Code of Conduct and remained in the meeting and took part in the discussion thereon).

 

(Councillor Mark Pritchard and David A Bithell  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Member Development pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate and Customer Services submitted a report (HCCS/45/17) which updated the Committee on the Members Induction and future development opportunities in 2017/18.

 

Louise Davies, Workforce Development Lead introduced the report and commented upon the programme of core training that has been delivered between 8 May  - 29 June 2017.  Details of the number of training sessions and member attendance was attached at Appendix A to the report.  Members also have access to a rolling development programme up to 31 March 2018 and dates and topics was attached at Appendix B.

 

During consideration of the report the following matters were raised in particular:

 

·         Members commented upon the high quality of the information provided at the training sessions and welcomed the fact that training sessions will continue to be developed in a variety of ways appropriate to the subject matter.

·         Care should be taken on the scheduling of training sessions. Repeat training sessions should not be held on the same day as the original session.  Also, in some instances, particularly training on the use of the IPad and Chairing meetings, the training session should have been held earlier in the induction training programme.

 

AGREED – That Members note the proposals for further training.

10.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report (HCCS/48/17) which enable consideration to be given to items for inclusion in the Forward Work Programme for the Committee during the current municipal year.

 

It was suggested that an additional item be included in the programme for the November meeting on the reliance on digital equipment for meeting agendas versus paper copies. This was agreed.

 

AGREED – That the Schedule of Meetings and Forward Work Programme as set out in report HCCS/48/17 be approved with the addition of the further item at the November meeting.