Decision by the Executive Director for Community Services on 12 June 2020
The report relating to the implementation of temporary measures to support safer walking and cycling in response to the Covid-10 pandemic was introduced to the Panel by the Head of Highways and Transport.
The Panel noted the report and welcomed measures to protect the safety of pedestrians, car users and cyclists on the roads. It was recognise that there was a need to respond the challenges in order to provide a safe environment for residents
The meeting noted questions and concerns expressed by Members, and responses to those by the Executive Director of Housing, Regeneration and Environment, the Head of Highways, and the Transport Policy and Development Manager.
The Chair of the Panel reminded the meeting that the consideration was a pre-decision scrutiny of the decision to be taken by the Executive Director of Housing, Regeneration and Environment.
1. Use of the common-place approach
Councillor John Muldoon asked about the why the Council opted for the common-place approach as a channel when developing the measures, and about its robustness of being able to capture and interpret data. In response the Officers advised the Panel that a secured procured contract with the provider meant that the approach had been tried and tested. It was compatible with the Council’s highways databases. Thus, it was sensible to use it as a platform to promote the urgency of the decision required to implement the temporary measures during the current crisis.
2. Inadequate Scrutiny of decision to be made
Whist appreciating the urgency of the decision required, Councillor Liam Curran stated that the fact remained that the time was insufficient to undertake effective scrutiny on the decision to be made. The majority of Members present at the meeting shared a similar view to that of Councillor Curran. Councillor Luke Sorba added that care should be taken not to set a precedent about lack of adequate consultation in contravention of the Council’s corporate strategy for public involvement in decision-making. Councillor Joan Millbank was however of a view that the decision to be made was urgent in the usual situation. Thus, she was satisfied with safeguards in place that the measures were temporary.
Councillor Sophie McGeevor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport echoed the view expressed by Councillor Millbank, clarifying to the Panel that the aim was not to by-pass statutory consultation processes, but that it was important to expedite the decision in order to capture the emergency opportunity posed by the Covid-19 crisis.
In response to questions raised by some Members on the issue, the Chair, Councillor Bill Brown confirmed that it was possible for the Panel to convene in order to undertake post-scrutiny of the temporary measures. However there would be no adverse effect to the implementation timetable. Councillor Brown reiterated the decision to be made was a pre-scrutiny submission, and that he was confident that Officers would note comments and suggestions by Members for consideration.
In light a concern, the Officers gave an assurance to the Panel that the data and information ... view the full minutes text for item 6