RESOLVED: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true record.
There were no declarations of interest.
Rosalind Jeffrey (Principal Officer – Policy, Service Design & Analysis) introduced the report and the key points to note:
§ Summary of the approach for delivering the recommendations of the Local Democracy Review (as agreed by the Working Group at their previous meeting on 29 May 2019)
§ Overview of work undertaken since the previous meeting and planned activities between late July and September
Cllr Bonavia then invited each LDWG Champion to provide an update on their thematic area. The following points were highlighted in the subsequent discussion:
Overview & Scrutiny (Including Council Meetings)
§ A series of workshops/roundtable sessions will be arranged in order to consult with members once initial proposals for a new Overview & Scrutiny structure have been developed
§ The Working Group highlighted that many elements of the current Overview & Scrutiny approach were effective – the proposals should therefore been seen as an evolution rather than a complete change
§ In order to deliver recommendation #31, officers will work with community organisations to conduct an ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ (focusing on those who are able to facilitate access to less well-established local organisations e.g. Voluntary Action Lewisham) – this will enable proposals for improving engagement with seldom-heard groups and individuals to be developed
§ The Working Group discussed opportunities to align these proposals with the potential development of a People’s Panel. More broadly, they acknowledged that work around seldom-heard voices was part of a longer-term recommendation
Open Data & Online Communications
§ Officers are organising a visit to visit to Bristol Is Open (joint venture between Bristol City Council and Bristol University) to explore their approach to Open Data
§ Webcasting of Council meetings has been trialled at two sessions of Mayor & Cabinet and is scheduled for a further trial at Full Council on 24 July
§ Cllr Bonavia agreed to consider the feasibility of members uploading additional information to their attendance page on the Council Website to demonstrate the range of activities they undertake
Effective Engagement (Including Younger & Older People)
§ The LDWG Champion has held one ‘off-site’ councillor surgery (at ‘Bring & Fix’ based in PLACE/Ladywell) – based on this experience, it would be useful to consider what practical support will be required when exploring how the current model of councillor surgeries could be expanded (recommendation #17). Any new approach to councillor surgeries should also maintain the privacy of residents, enabling them to have ‘discreet conversations’ with their ward councillor when required.
Language & Reporting
§ Consideration should be given to developing offline mechanisms for members of the public to provide feedback on the accessibility of reports and publications (in addition to the online form)
§ The LWDG Champion had recently attended a Centre for Cities conference with the Director of Planning – the message was that members of the public wanted to be more engaged in decision-making, but lacked trust in the Planning process. There was also a suggestion made at the conference that an audit of the local community be undertaken prior to the submission of ... view the full minutes text for item 3.