Improvement Board (15th November 2013) The first five minutes (a transcript)
Above is video from the first twenty-six minutes of the Improvement Board. If you want to watch the whole meeting from start to finish you can watch using the playlist. If I was to write a report on the meeting, I don’t think it would really do it justice. Therefore it would be better instead to have a verbatim account of what was said (which I’ll be adding to the video as subtitles).
Those at the meeting got this handout which had the responses to the consultation and questions submitted to the meeting (although it’s best to read this about the questions as some had subtle alterations). The handout also contained the text of motions agreed at meetings of Wirral Council’s Coordinating Committee and at Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee about the review. At the later meeting Cllr Simon Mountney voted against the resolution. So here’s the transcript of the first five minutes.
Joyce Redfearn, Chair of the Improvement Board: A very, very warm welcome. It is most encouraging to see so many people here.
If you can’t hear, can you please wave hands and indicate to us and we’ll try and project better. If you do want to move forward there are more seats at the front if that helps people but you know wherever you’re comfortable you are very welcome to stay in terms of the proceedings.
I probably should begin with introductions of the people sitting at the top table just so that you know who we are but we have deliberately taken away the tables and tried to make it a more relaxed and more informal situation. So we hope that that will create the right atmosphere this afternoon for you to be able to ask the questions and make your comments that you wish to make in terms of the review.
I’m Joyce Redfearn, I’m the Chair of the Improvement Board.
Graham Burgess: I’m Graham Burgess, Wirral Council Chief Executive
Cllr Phil Davies: I’m Phil Davies, Leader of the Council.
Dr Gill Taylor: I’m Gill Taylor from the Local Government Association and member of the Improvement Board.
Mike Thomas: I’m Mike Thomas, I’m the Council’s external auditor.
Joyce Redfearn: And we have other members of the Improvement Board in the audience, both past and present members of the Board so no doubt at times they may want to also join in as Board members in terms of the comments and queries that we’ve received.
To try to help things because we have had rather I’m pleased we’ve had a very strong response to the consultation and to the opportunity to ask questions. We have put out I hope everybody can see a piece of paper that says Feedback from partners but then it goes onto the questions which will be the main focus of today’s session and I have also as Chair agreed that Martin Morton with whom much of this began should have the opportunity to also make a statement at the end of the meeting at the end of the questions, so I hope people are comfortable with that, ok.
I’m not going to dwell on the initial feedback. We wanted you to be aware that there have been responses and this was actually yesterday evening when we’d just received these and we are expecting more potentially through the course of the day up to five o’clock this evening. They do give a flavour of some of the responses that are coming back and I hope this is helpful in terms of seeing what others are saying as well as as hearing today what the people in this audience actually feel and think about the review report, the work that’s been done by the Improvement Board and I suppose fundamentally the issue is where and how well prepared Wirral Council now is for the next stage which it still knows is an improvement journey.
Nobody is saying today this is the end of the story. This is part of where we will be continuing, but in a different form to see further improvements in Wirral Council.
So if we’re all happy to do so, I’d like to turn to the first question, so the heading, it’s on page one, two, three, four, five if you’re with me, questions or feedback submitted by the public and the first one is from J Yates.
I don’t know if J Yates is in the room and wants to identify themselves. It’s not necessary, we will actually take the question whether people want to idetify or not and themselves associated with that. OK, the first question there is about the timing and not having given at least five working days notice, I’ll ask Graham to respond to the question please.
Graham Burgess: I think I’ll stand up if that’s ok. First of all the requirement for public notice of meetings applies to statutory meetings of the Council, this isn’t a statutory meeting of the Council, this is a meeting of the Improvement Board and therefore the regulations in that respect don’t apply, but clearly we like to follow good practice where we can, so immediately following the last Improvement Board meeting because we knew there was a really tight timescale, we met with representatives of the media and made sure there was extensive coverage of the decision of the Improvement Board to hold this meeting and indeed I think in the Echo and in the Globe and on Radio Merseyside there was specific coverage of the intention to hold this meeting at this time on this day and that was almost two weeks I think before this meeting had been held.
So we did make sure there was coverage in those newspapers and also we updated with both the Globe and the Echo to ensure there’s some coverage even in the last day or two of this meeting taking place. So on that basis we think that we have advertised, in fact we’ve advertised this meeting, via our partners in the press, far more vigorously and intensively than we would a normal Council meeting.
Joyce Redfearn: Thanks very much.
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