The Chair of the Committee to be heard.
Members are asked to note Lord Lisvane’s Governance Review found here.
Members received an oral update from the Chair concerning the City Corporation’s Governance Review. Members also noted Lord Lisvane’s report and a note on the relationship between the Hampstead Heath Management Committee and the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee.
The Chair stated that Lisvane’s report was a comprehensive review of everything including the Standing Orders. A major review point was the number of committees which was higher than the number of Members. It was acknowledged that some areas were addressed in more detail than others, with the Open Spaces as a whole considered to be much less detailed than needed.
The Review recommended the disbandment of a number of consultative committees, including the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee, and the merger of the four open spaces grand committees into one overarching committee. The Chair emphasized that the statutory requirements for Hampstead Heath prohibited this and that Lord Lisvane had not fully understood the implications of the legislation, laws or byelaws.
The Chair stated that this was the start of the process and that the report did not acknowledge an order to fulfil recommendations. The Chair was keen to keep Members involved in the process and share their views on the recommendations.
Members made the following comments:
· The Chair and Deputy Chairman stressed their view that consultative groups were very helpful and had an important role in terms of accountability and local engagement.
· A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) regarded the report to be highly bureaucratic and Square Mile focussed with radical proposals made without proper analysis. For example, Lord Lisvane had not taken into account the implications of what would happen if the consultative committees were disbanded and the voice of local groups was lost. It was highlighted that the City Corporation was outwards as well as inwards facing and for the last 30+ years had been good at engaging and including the local community to date.
· A Member (Highgate Society) felt that Lord Lisvane should have included talking to members of consultative committees as part of the process to establish what their take on their role was. Members were in agreement that the role of consultative committees was vital, and their views added value and validated decisions.
· The view of the Heath & Hampstead Society was highlighted by a Member quoting the chair who was cited in the Ham & High saying: “The legal position is that the Hampstead committees are established by ministerial order. They can’t be amended unless by another order. The society would oppose unconditionally, and by every means at its disposal, the suggested abolition of the Consultative Committee”.
· A Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association) noted that the 1989 Order was not mentioned at all in the Review which was the whole basis for the consultative role. There was also no reason given for the abolition other than the fact that there were too many committees which Members did not feel justified the reasoning for the recommendation.
· A Member
· The Chair thanked Members for their comments and agreed that these views would be shared within the ongoing review process. Members would be informed when the Open Spaces recommendations were being considered. The Chair saw the whole review process as an opportunity for the committee to streamline their work and ensure they were representative.