Standards Committee (Wirral Council) 3/7/2012 Part 1 Election of Chair, Minutes of previous meetings

Standards Committee 3rd July 2012

Photo caption: From Left to Right
Cllr Steve Williams (Conservative), Cllr Chris Blakeley (Conservative), Cllr Les Rowlands (Conservative), Shirley Hudspeth (Officer – Committee Clerk), Surjit Tour (Legal Adviser), Malcolm Flanagan (Report author agenda item 5 & item 6), Unknown Labour councillor (1), Unknown Labour councillor (2)

Standards Committee
Present
Conservative (3)
Cllr Chris Blakeley
Cllr Les Rowlands
Cllr Steve Williams

Labour (5)
Cllr Ron Abbey
Cllr John Salter
Cllr Bill Davies (Chair)
Cllr Bernie Mooney
Cllr Anita Leech

Lib Dem (1)
Cllr Tom Harney

Not Present:

Vacancy (1) Independent

Vacancy (2) Independent

Vacancy (3) Independent

Wirral Council Officers
Malcolm Flanagan
Shirley Hudspeth (Committee Clerk)
Surjit Tour (Legal Adviser/Deputy Monitoring Officer)
Rick O’Brien

Public
Mrs Leonora and Mr. John Brace
Mr. Denis Knowles

Agenda item 1 – Election of Chair 00:00 to 01:50

Surjit Tour explained to councillors that they needed to elect a Chair. Cllr Bill Davies was nominated. Cllr Chris Blakeley queried why it was necessary when Part 2 of the Annual Meeting of the Council, held on the 21st May 2012 had already reached a decision as to who the Chair should be? [Ed – this decision took effect from 1/7/12.]

Surjit Tour answered his question. Cllr Bill Davies was elected unopposed as Chair. The new Chair thanked the Committee for their hard work.

The Chair moved the Committee to:

Agenda Item 2 – Minutes of Previous Meeting 01:50 to 11:35

The agenda item was to discuss the minutes of the meetings held on the 16th April 2012 and 25th June 2012.

Cllr Blakeley asked which set of minutes they were dealing with first?

He disputed the accuracy of various parts of the minutes. The Chair said he hadn’t been at the meeting in question. Cllr Harney said it would “cost a fortune” for verbatim minutes, but they had to record decisions made. He thought it was better if quoting to attribute it to a named person and felt it was better in future “to stick to a brief narrative” and a decision if any was made, feeling that spending time on it was not productive and what mattered was the decision.

Cllr Chris Blakeley suggested they record meetings in the future.

Cllr Ron Abbey stated the recording of meetings would need agreement at a meeting of the full Council, he supported Cllr Harney’s stance, but it required the full Council to resolve. A discussion followed.

Cllr Chris Blakeley referred to his resolution at a previous meeting that was agreed 5:0:4. He recommended that all future meetings are recorded by video or sound.

Cllr Salter said they’d done this route before as they had had streaming video of Planning Committee meetings for two years and there had been difficulties.

Cllr Ron Abbey said that technology evolved but wanted a full report on the policy option.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said he was happy to move a motion.

Cllr Tom Harney said he was in favour of recording, but there were resource implications and systems had to be set up, he felt it was a matter for Cabinet.

Surjit Tour suggested it could be looked at by the Member Equipment Steering Group, especially as KLOE 6 would lead to a review of the IT kit and the Council’s infrastructure, as part of this they could look into the possibility of recording as well as the streaming cost implications as part of this cross party working group.

Cllr Chris Blakeley was happy, Cllr Salter said it didn’t work on Planning, but the equipment was still here. Cllr Ron Abbey said he had no issue with it coming back as technology moved on. He wanted other people to look at it going to the Working Party to fill in information as a policy option.

Cllr Les Rowlands felt video was not helpful, but if it recorded accurate decisions then for Shirley’s benefit it could help improve the accuracy of the minutes.

Cllr Ron Abbey suggested it go to the Working Party.

Cllr Chris Blakeley wanted to move consideration for recording either video or voice, he was happy for Surjit Tour to take it to the cross party Working Group.

Cllr Bill Davies said he was not sure he wanted video, this was seconded by Cllr Les Rowlands.

The Chair said just to be clear it was going to the Working Party, which was agreed.

Continued in part 2

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.