Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone
Contact: Joel Cook 03000 416892
Declarations of Interest
There were no interests declared.
Mr Watts provided an
update on the previous minutes and explained that there had been
delays to other services, which meant meetings could only be
webcast from the Council Chamber but informal meetings could
continue to be held in the Darent Room.
Mr Cook introduced the report and stated that since June 2023 the
team had undertaken a review of the Council’s petition scheme
and had completed research on comparable council’s petition
schemes. KCC’s petition scheme was in line with many other
comparable councils, and if the petition limit was reduced to 2000,
this could increase the number of County Council debates. It was
explained that the Committee needed to make a choice, as residents
needed to be encouraged to submit petitions, but KCC was the
strategic upper-tier authority.
A Member raised a question
regarding the research undertaken into comparable councils’
and the threshold needed to trigger a Full Council debate. Mr Cook
explained that although some authorities, such as Hertfordshire
County Council, had lower thresholds for County Council debates,
Kent remained in line with most
Members raised concerns regarding the threshold for Joint
Transportation Board (JTB) petitions, and it was confirmed that if
petitions did not meet the threshold they could still be added to
the agenda through the agenda-setting process.
Members discussed lowering the threshold of County Council and
Cabinet Committee petitions to encourage resident engagement with
the Council and the democratic process.
Members queried how signatures on petitions were checked to confirm
eligibility, and if the team could check eligible signatures on the
electoral role. It was confirmed that people under 18, or who
studied or worked in the borough could sign petitions and may not
appear on the electoral role. The team could undertake dip sampling
to check petition signatures, but a process and procedure note
would need to be agreed before this could begin. A paper could be
brought back to the committee to confirm criteria eligibility and
the verification process.
6. Members agreed for officers to consider all options before coming back to committee and presenting the options for the petition scheme, along with the eligibility criteria for signing a petition and how this would be verified.
RESOLVED to bring an update back to the next meeting to clarify which changes should be progressed.
Miss Reynolds introduced the report and stated that in June 2023
the Committee had agreed to review the Outside Bodies scheme, and
this paper outlined the outcome of this review.
A Member raised a concern with recommendation C and asked for
inclusion of the word ‘relevant’ to ensure that the
process for appointing to an Outside Body remained streamlined and
effective. This amendment was seconded and agreed by the
A Member highlighted that KCC representatives on Outside Bodies
should keep KCC informed of any changes to that organisation. Mr
Watts agreed that a Protocol would be created to centralise the
Outside Body process and clarify the relationship between KCC and
outside bodies, as well as what support, if any, needed to be
provided by officers so the process was clear for
Members clarified that some changes to the Outside Body list in the
report needed to be made, and officers confirmed that the list
would be updated.
a. Agree to remove the outside bodies listed in section 2d from the list of outside bodies.
b. Agree to confirm the current list of outside bodies as set out in section 2c.
c. Delegate to the Monitoring Officer the authority to make nominations and appointments to outside bodies where there is a vacancy, after consultation with the relevant Chair of the Committee and relevant Group Leader.
Mr Jeffrey introduced the report and thanked officers and Members
for their hard work on the report, both formally and informally. He
explained that a survey on key issues such as the role of the
Executive and Member training had been distributed amongst KCC
Members and 70% had responded. Following the survey, the team had
begun to put together a plan of action, which included mandatory
training for Planning Committee Members and media training for
Cabinet Members, Chairs, and opposition leaders. More training
would be held in future, for example risk management training, and
comments and feedback on the report would continue to be
The Chair asked what the next steps of the project would be and if
this would include training on mod.gov. It was confirmed that
mod.gov training could be provided.
Members requested the team consider external training for Members,
for example training from the LGA for backbench Members.
4. Mr Watts explained that the report considered varied positions and viewpoints from Members, which would feed into the Annual Governance Statement. Members had different needs and needed diverse levels and types of support and training. Member hub would be available to assist with any queries regarding training or accessing papers online.
a. Note and discuss Member Development to provide contribution to the key findings.
b. Provide a view on the budget arrangements for Learning and Development allocations.
c. Provide feedback on Appendix A.
Mr Jeffrey introduced the report and stated that it outlined how
Combined Member Grants (CMGs) had been spent by Members in the
previous financial year. There remained a problem in reporting as
some Members, according to the report, had not spent their CMG but
in actuality were saving for larger highways projects or had
already allocated this spending to a project, but this had not yet
been completed. The team were considering a different way of
reporting, which would include categories for monies allocated but
not yet spent.
Members agreed that reporting should be updated to show where
monies had been allocated but not spent, or where the money had
been spent but projects delayed.
3. Mr Watts explained that the report provided a year-end snapshot, but CMG expenditure was closely monitored by the team. The team were considering presenting monthly updates to Members on CMGs and were currently considering how best to share this information, including a Member webpage to show real time grant spend. It was agreed that the public document should remain reflective and not be a live document. Mr Watts confirmed that options on how CMGs were presented would be considered, and a caveat would be included when published online to explain that the report provided a year-end snapshot.
a. Note the grant recipient list for the Combined Member Grants 2022/23.
b. Note the COVID-19 Local Recovery Fund Grants 2021/22.
c. Approve the upload to the KCC website, including an explanation that the report provided a 2022/23 year-end snapshot and was not a live document.
Mr Cook introduced the report and explained that the review had
been prompted by the Kent Flood Risk Management (KFRM) Committee
Chair to ensure the name of the Committee was up-to-date and
accurately reflected the work of the Committee, which had expanded
to include the work of the water companies and climate change. No
substantive change to the Committee was being proposed.
A Member raised a concern as the KFRM Committee was technically an
Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which meant that Cabinet Members
or Deputy Cabinet Members could not sit on the Committee. It was
confirmed that the Committee scrutinised the work of other bodies,
and did not scrutinise KCC, but constitutional amendments were
3. A Member highlighted that the Cabinet Member titles in the Terms of Reference were out of date and needed to be updated.
RESOLVED, subject to Cabinet Member titles being updated in the Terms of Reference, to recommend to County Council that the:
a. Name of the Kent Flood Risk Management Committee be changed to Kent Flood Risk and Water Management Committee
b. Amendments to the Terms of Reference of the Kent Flood Risk Management Committee as set out in the report be approved.
Monitoring Officer: Verbal Update
1. Mr Watts, General Counsel updated the Committee and explained that a more substantive update would be provided once the outcomes from the Annual Governance Statement were known, including proposed changes to the Constitution which would be presented to Committee. There were also conversations ongoing regarding changing the structure of meetings, which would be presented to the Committee in late 2023 or early 2024, to ensure that resources were targeted, and Members fully supported. Mr Watts summarised and explained that this remained a pressurised time for local councils, including KCC, but officers remained committed to providing the best service for residents.