Report of the Town Clerk.
The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk proposing that a comprehensive, independent, review of the City Corporation’s governance arrangements be undertaken.
The Chair prefaced discussion by observing that, through the Fundamental Review process, it had become increasingly clear that the City’s governance arrangements would also need to be reviewed substantively. Given the complexity and need for a dispassionate initial assessment, appointing an independent expert represented the sensible approach; however, she recognised that Members would, rightly, wish to contribute comments ahead of the process and would play a key role in the direction of travel and in considering the recommendations. It was suggested that any comments be submitted to the Town Clerk, for collation and submission to the independent reviewer. It was also suggested that, upon the recommendations being presented to this Committee initially, this might be managed most effectively as informal session.
During discussion of the scope of the review, Members noted that it would be important to keep discussion at a high-level at this stage and allow the independent reviewer latitude to make appropriate recommendations across the City Corporation’s Code of Governance. However, it was recognised that, whilst a number of areas might require primary legislation for any changes to be pursued, it would nevertheless be sensible to identify these so that a true assessment could be made as to whether Members wished to pursue or consider them in the light of any risk factors. This included items such as decreasing the number of Common Councillors or Aldermen. It was agreed that authority should be delegated to the Town Clerk, in consultation with the Chair and Deputy Chairman, to establish an include relevant items within the Review’s scope.
In relation to questions concerning the timeframe of the review, Members noted it would be important to try and dovetail it with the Fundamental Review as far as possible, particularly given the potential for interrelated considerations concerning organisational structures and operating models.
RESOLVED: that, subject to the concurrence of the Court of Common Council:-
1. A comprehensive, independent, review of the City Corporation’s governance arrangements be undertaken;
2. An independent consultant be appointed to undertake the review, to be assisted by the Principal Committee and Members Services Manager that administers this Committee;
3. The terms of reference of the review be as follows – “to review the governance arrangements of the organisation by undertaking a comprehensive examination of the City Corporation’s Code of Corporate Governance to ensure that the arrangements are efficient, fair, transparent and accountable”;
4. Whilst it is anticipated that much of the Code of Corporate Governance will fall within the scope of the governance review, the Town Clerk be authorised to establish and include any other areas which merit inclusion in the review, in consultation with the Chair and Deputy Chairman;
5. The direction of travel, the emerging issues, findings and the formulation of recommendations be considered by the Resource Allocation Sub-Committee in the first instance;
6. Once the findings of the review and the views of the Sub-Committee have been considered by this Committee, all Members of the Court be consulted on the direction of travel and have the ability to contribute by way of an informal briefing session.