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Posted by: John Brace | 5th September 2012

Corporate Governance Committee (Wirral Council) Questionnaire to Councillors (2011)

H:Corporate ServicesHuman ResourcesO DElected Member TrainingMTSG MeetingsCorporate Governance CommitteeBackground Reports & Action PlanSurveyv6 Elected Member Questionnaire.doc

V6 DRAFT

Wirral Council Members Questionnaire

Dear Councillor,

We are all aware of the AKA Governance report. Almost all of us were present at a presentation by Anna Klonowski recently.

One if the areas for action identified by Anna Klonowski in her report was that of Councillor Development and Training.

The Corporate Governance Committee has agreed that myself, with the other members of the Member Training Strategy Group, Cllr Wendy Clements and Cllr Pat Glasman, will co-ordinate activity in this area.

We plan to provide opportunities for us all to reflect on the issues raised by Anna Klonowski, together with appropriate training.

We have in mind to focus on -:

• the roles and responsibilities of Members and Officers
• our roles as individuals and as members of various Committees, including Cabinet.
• our role when holding the Executive and Officers to account.

We do however need to include the needs of everyone. Please could you help by filling in the attached questionnaire. There is of course a vast range of experience amongst Members both inside and outside the Council. Let us know how we can best use this in our programme.

We will keep you informed but in the meanwhile if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Pat or Wendy.

Cllr Tom Harney

Instructions

The Questionnaire has two parts:-

Part One is a series of scenarios that ask you to consider how you would respond in certain situations.
Part Two asks questions about your skills and knowledge and how you like to learn.

Please complete the following questions and return your response either by e-mail to melissaholt@wirral.gov.uk or directly to Melissa Holt who is supporting the process at the Organisational Development Team, South Annex, Wallasey, CH44 8ED

Please respond by return but at the very latest by the 16th December in order for the results to be used to inform a Development Programme ready to commence in the New Year.

Part One – Scenarios

Step 1

Please consider the scenarios below and the possible actions available to you.

Step 2

Once you have considered your response, rank them in preference order by placing a number 1, 2 or 3 next to each of them.

1 = this would be the most appropriate response
2 = this would be the next most appropriate response
3 = this would be the least appropriate response

Step 3
Add any alternative actions that you would take. Also please include any comments you would like to make on the scenario.

1) Some reports were due for a Scrutiny Committee. There is a briefing before the meeting and the papers are not available. This is the 3rd time this sort of event has happened.

What action would you take?

a) Talk to the Chairman in advance of the meeting asking that the report be deferred on the basis that it is not available for the briefing. In addition, agree with the Chairman that he/she will write to the Chief Executive cc the Cabinet Member asking for an explanation for the recent failures and remedial action that will be taken?
b) Talk to the Chairman in advance of the meeting asking that the report be deferred on the basis that it is not available for the briefing. Agree with the Chairman that he will raise the issue with the Chief Officer in the briefing seeking an explanation of the continued failures. If this explanation is unacceptable, agree with the Chairman that he/she will write to the Chief Executive cc the Cabinet Member asking for an explanation for the recent failures and remedial action that will be taken?
c) Write to the Chief Executive cc the Cabinet Portfolio holder asking for an explanation and seeking details of the action he/she proposes?

Other actions taken and your comments

2) The Key Performance Indicators reported for a particular Department show that in the 3rd quarter they have under performed but, states that they will have recovered the situation by the 4th quarter. It’s now the end of February (half way through the 4th quarter).

What action would you take?

a) Accept the report

b) Ask the Chief Officer attending the Committee to explain whether performance as of today’s date proves that they will achieve the outturn performance as per the report to the previous committee
c) On receipt of the report agree with the Chairman that he will write to the Chief Officer asking for updated performance information to be submitted in writing to the Committee if necessary on the night to prove that the performance promised in the 3rd quarter will be achieved by the end of the 4th quarter.

Other actions taken and your comments

3) A Chief Officer has submitted an improvement programme. Monthly reports appear to suggest everything in on track but from some feedback at local surgeries, members of the public do not appear to recognise the improvements and are still raising concerns.

How would you react?

a) Write to the Chief Officer detailing the concerns of the members of the public and asking for their response.
b) Write to the Chief Officer cc the relevant Cabinet detailing the concerns of the members of the public and asking for their response)
c) As for (b) but ask to meet the Portfolio Holder seeking proposals as to external verification of the delivery of the inputs, outputs and outcomes from the improvement programme.

Other actions taken and your comments

4) You are conducting a surgery when you are approached by a member of the public who happens to be an employee at Wirral Council. They ask if what they tell you can be kept confidential but then continue to relate a story regarding fraudulent behaviour within the team in which they work.

How would you respond?

a) Listen but tell the individual that this outside of your remit and that they should report it to Internal Audit
b) Tell the individual you intend to discuss the allegation with the Monitoring Officer maintaining their confidentiality as far as possible.
c) Take the issue up personally with the Director of Finance

Other actions taken and your comments

5) In a Committee meeting a fellow Elected Member becomes frustrated by the Officer’s answers to their questions. The Elected Member begins to shout and make unreasonable requests for further information.

How would you deal with this situation?

a) Leave the situation to the Chair as it is their role to manage this kind of thing
b) Propose to the Chair a 5 min cooling off period explaining the Officer’s role

c) Nothing – the situation is indeed very frustrating and venting a little emotion is acceptable

Other actions taken and your comments

6) At a Committee meeting an unexpected report is handed out by an Officer.

What would you do?

a) Look to the Chair to approve the report as urgent and accept the report on the Officer’s recommendation that it is a “good news story”

b) Request an adjournment to understand the detailed and controversial information the report
c) Recommend that the Chair refuses to accept the report and articulate this strongly because you feel due process has not been followed.

Other actions taken and your comments

Part Two – Questions

7) What skills or knowledge could you bring to the work being done by the Council on the topic of Corporate Governance?

8) What are the key skills and areas of knowledge you think you need as a Councillor to practice in a way that shows good corporate governance?

9) Are there any other training or development needs that you have at present?

10) How do you like to learn?

E-Learning

Workshops/ face to face sessions

Reading materials

One to one coaching/ mentoring

11) Do you have any further observations or comments?

Thank you for your time.


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