To consider the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance (copy enclosed).
The Council considered the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance seeking Members’ approval of amendments to the protocol within remote Committee meetings in light of updates to the technology used and to improve how remote meetings operated. A revised version of the remote protocol document was attached as Appendix A to the report.
The Leader of the Council put the proposal as set out in the report.
Councillor Mrs P A Channer declared an interest in this item of business.
Several concerns were raised including the reasons for the review and during the debate concerns regarding particular amendments to the protocol were highlighted.
Councillor S P Nunn proposed that the revised protocol not be adopted but a Working Group be set up with advice from Officers, including the Lead Legal Specialist and Monitoring Officer to review the proposed changes and report back to the Council. This was duly seconded. Members were advised that there was already a proposal which had been seconded that had to be considered first.
The Chairman then put the proposal in the name of the Leader of the Council to the vote. A recorded vote was taken and the voting was as follows:
For the recommendation:
Councillors E L Bamford, B S Beale, Mrs P A Channer, M F L Durham, Mrs J L Fleming, A L Hull, J V Keyes, C P Morley, Mrs M E Thompson and Miss S White.
Against the recommendation:
Councillors M G Bassenger, V J Bell, M R Edwards, M S Heard, K W Jarvis, K M H Lagan, C Mayes, C Morris, S P Nunn, N G F Shaughnessy, R H Siddall, N J Skeens, W Stamp, J Stilts and C Swain.
Councillor Miss A M Beale.
The proposal of the Leader of the Council was declared lost.
Councillor N G F Shaughnessy left the meeting at this point and did not return.
Further debate ensued. Following advice from the Lead Legal Specialist and Monitoring Officer and further discussion the Chairman advised that under Rule 23 of the Council’s Constitution she was happy to accept a further proposal. The Chairman referred to the earlier debate and a suggestion that the public participation be accepted and a Working Group set up.
Councillor Nunn then proposed that with the exception of public participation which should be agreed, the suggested revisions to the remote Committee procedure not be accepted, and a politically balanced Working Group be established to review the procedures. This was duly seconded. The Leader of the Council suggested that that the composition and membership of the Working Group be referred to the Statutory Annual meeting of this Council to agree. Councillor Nunn agreed with this and amended his proposal accordingly. The amended proposal was duly seconded.
The Chairman put Councillor Nunn’s amended proposal to the Council and it was duly agreed (by assent).
(i) That the amendments to section 5 – public participation of the Remote Committee Procedure (attached as Appendix A to the report) be agreed;
(ii) That with the exception of section 5 (as detailed above) the revised remote protocol document (Appendix A to the report) and associated updates to working practices not be adopted;
(iii) That a politically balanced Working Group be set up with its Membership to be agreed at the Statutory Annual meeting of the Council to review the Remote Committee Procedure and report back to the Council.