Cllr Foulkes moved the meeting on to the Policy Unit report. Jim Wilkie said he had been critical of the formation of a policy unit, but it would have to be at the heart of the decision making process. It would initially agree policies to be implemented. He was aware of the changes in circumstances, the corporate pan, the work on child poverty and the discussion at the Employment and Appointments Committee which had referred it back to this committee. It would be established by seconding existing staff and somebody would be needed to head it up. He wanted feedback of views on its precise role which he would take into account. If people were seconded it would have an impact on the departments they were seconded from.
Cllr Green said he was not altogether clear on the policy unit as theoretically councillors should decide policy. He said there used to be a policy unit. He said people develop policy all over the place and if there was a central unit which everything went to it would just get bigger and bigger. This would then only look at what everybody ese was doing. He said was not clear and wanted to see how it would fit into overall governance. He asked “Why invent the wheel without clarity?” and how they had “let Carolyn go”.
Cllr Phil Davies said the benefit of a unit would be horizon scanning, which would give them the ability and capability to see what was coming down the track whether this be legislation or key issues. He said at the moment this was a struggle as people were busy operating services, but there were “big challenges on the way”.