Home | All about HIOW | Members and Officers | Association meeting dates | Key documents | Links | Election Results | ResponsesBest Value Network | Other Useful Information 


Back to 2000 Meetings Index | Back to Agenda Page

Paper 5 - 29 September 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT AUTHORITIES 29 September 2000

MEMBER DEVELOPMENT - THE ROLE OF THE NON-EXECUTIVE MEMBER AND GUIDELINES ARISING FROM THE ASSOCIATION’S SEMINAR ON 21 JULY Report by the Policy Manager

RECOMMENDATIONS

(1) That member authorities note the guidelines on the role of the Non-Executive Member and provide further comments so that the guidelines can be developed alongside national work at LGA/DETR level;

(2) That the informal workshop approach be repeated when the Association next considers the impact of the current Local Government legislation on organisational structures, and on other occasions when Members’ opinions are needed in an informal setting: and

(3) That the preliminary proposals for a joint session with the IDeA at the LGA Annual Conference 2001 (paragraph 7) be approved.

SUMMARY

The Members’ Seminar on 21 July developed a preliminary set of guidelines to help authorities consider the role of the Non-Executive Member. These complement work by the LGA at national level and are set out in the report.

BACKGROUND

1. The Association’s meeting last November decided to hold a Seminar for Members on the Local Government Bill. The Seminar was held at Cricklade College, Andover on 21 July and was attended by 70 Members and staff (Annex 1).

2. The focus of the Seminar was "the role of the Non-Executive Member". The intention was both to learn and to develop guidelines for use by authorities.

3. Following an introduction by Councillor Ian Carr, the Seminar heard from experience in Bedfordshire both at County Council and Mid-Beds District Council level. Working sessions were chaired by Councillors Brian Gurden, Elizabeth Cartwright, Brian Palmer and Michael Woodhall. The workshop reported back to a Plenary Session chaired by Councillor Tony Jackson.

4. In developing the Seminar, officers had been in contact with South East Employers and the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA). These discussions are continuing with a view to running a joint session for Members at the LGA Conference in Harrogate, 2001. This will be on the subject of best practice in Member Development.

GUIDELINES ON THE ROLE OF THE NON-EXECUTIVE MEMBER

5. Against a background of concern that the role of the Non-Executive Member will be diminished by the new legislation, the Seminar considered how the role in practice could be enhanced. The following broad guidelines emerged:

(1) Representational role: nothing new, but this role needs to be emphasised for all Members.

(2) Role in Policy Development: the Executive will implement policy within the policy framework agreed by the whole Council. Non-Executive Members can therefore be brought into Policy Development Panels, which can recommend policy to full Council.

(3) Following on from (2), the framework for policy development will be the community strategy process set out in the legislation. The Chief Executives’ Group is developing a joint approach to community planning and will bring forward a report for Members. Non-Executive Members can have a key role in this process.

(4) Attention was drawn to the large number of formal plans authorities now have to develop and approve (Transport Plans, Housing Plans, Asset Management etc.). The Community Strategy is seen as a binding mechanism to bring these plans together with those of partner organisations. Full involvement of Non-Executive Members in this complex process will be important.

(5) Involvement of both Executive and Non-Executive Members in Policy Development Panels is likely to be most rewarding for both, and least likely to create unhelpful tension between the Executive and Non-Executive Members.

(6) It was noted that Scrutiny Panels must not include Executive Members. It will be important to avoid sterile scrutiny which crawls over every decision, but to concentrate on linking scrutiny with best value.

(7) Area Committees: where these are established, Non-Executive Members can fully participate in area executive decisions. Attention was drawn to the possibility of considerable delegation to Area Committees as a way of enhancing the role of Non-Executive Members.

(8) Make full use of the remaining Executive Committees (Planning, Grants etc.) which can involve Members who are not on the Executive.

(9) Avoid negative terminology such as "just a back-bencher".

(10) The view was expressed that it could help to build a positive role for the Non-Executive Member if the Executive includes representation of minority parties.

(11) Consider creating a "register of Members’ interests" (ie what issues interest Members) and align Non-Executive Members to their interests.

(12) Re-vamp Member and Staff training to make the best use of Members and to concentrate on enhancing the Non-Executive Member’s role. Emphasise that "All Members are working towards the common good".

(13) Provide excellent Member communications so that Non-Executive Members are fully informed of the Executive’s actions.

(14) Provide officer support to Non-Executive Panels. Tie in to role of Chief Executive.

(15) Consider the role of Chairmen of Non-Executive Panels. Develop this role as one of "facilitator".

(16) Ensure clarity of roles and purpose of Member Panels. (There is a remarkably large amount of work to be done by Non-Executive Members).

(17) Ensure all relevant Staff and Members are fully aware of the changes.

(18) Keep an eye on the main purpose of these changes which is to engage people in their local democracy, and make matters more transparent(!). (Exclamation mark for draft only).

6. These guidelines have been notified to the LGA, which has set up a Members’ Task Group to consider and report on the issue of non-executive Members. Their initial statement has been published for consultation - LGA circular 519/00.

7. Following the Seminar, the Honorary Secretary and I are discussing with the LGA and IDeA the possibility of running a session for Members at the LGA Annual Conference next year in Harrogate. This session will focus on best practice in Member Development, drawing on the experience of Member authorities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager

Date: 14 September 2000
Annex: 1
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431 E-mail hiowlang@hants.gov.uk

ANNEX 1

LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILLMembers’ Workshop - 21 July 2000

PARTICIPANTS

AUTHORITY/ORGANISATION

PARTICIPANTS

Basingstoke & Deane

Councillor Brian Gurden (Room One)

Councillor George Hood (Room B)

Councillor Sally Jones (Room One)

Councillor David Leeks (Room C)

Councillor Michael Ross (Room A)

Dorcus Bunton, Head of Strategic Services (Room B)

Peter Markham, Political Group Assistant (Room C)

East Hampshire

Councillor Elizabeth Cartwright (Room B)

Councillor Sue Halstead (Room A)

Councillor Theresa Jamieson (Room One)

Roger Tetstall, Head of Legal and Democratic Services (Room C)

Eastleigh

Councillor Mrs Margaret Kyrle (Room A)

Councillor Peter Wall (Room B)

Chris Tapp, Chief Executive (Room One)

Fareham

Councillor Ray Ellis (Room C)

Councillor Hugh Pritchard (Room A)

Bob Leach, Assistant Chief Executive (Room B)

Gosport

Councillor Mark Hook (Room C)

Chris Bradshaw, Strategic Policy Officer (Room A)

Hampshire

Councillor Brian Dash/John Dawson (Room B)

Councillor David Kirk (Room A)

Councillor Bill Wheeler (Room B)

Councillor Mike Woodhall (Room C)

Paddy Hillary, Policy Manager (Room A)

Hart

Councillor Robert Benford (Room C)

Councillor Peter Hutcheson (Room B)

Councillor David Simpson (Room One)

Charles Herbert, Head of Corporate Services (Room A)

Havant

Councillor Barry Gardner (Room A)

Councillor Ken Moss (Room One)

Councillor Mark Shorten (Room C)

Alan Perry, Principal Administrative Officer (Room B)

Isle of Wight

Councillor Gordon Kendall (Room A)

Councillor Brenda Lawson (Room C)

Councillor Andy Sutton (Room One)

Mike Fisher, Director of Corporate Services (Room One)

New Forest

Councillor Timothy Droogleever (Room One)

Councillor Maureen Robinson (Room C)

David Yates, Chief Executive (Room A)

Portsmouth

Councillor Tom Blair (Room B)

Councillor Frank Worley (Room A)

Brian Partridge, Head of Chief Executive’s Department

(Room One)

Rushmoor

Councillor Craig Card (Room B)

Councillor John Debenham (Room One)

Councillor Graham Tucker (Room A)

Andrew Colver, Head of Democratic Services (Room B)

Test Valley

Councillor Norman Arnell (Room C)

Councillor Andrew Baxter (Room B)

Councillor Ian Carr (Room B)

Councillor David Drew (Room B)

Councillor Mrs Sandra Hawke (Room B)

Councillor Tony Jackson (Room A)

Councillor Josephine Msonthi (Room A)

Councillor Brian Palmer (Room A)

Councillor Patricia West (Room A)

Councillor Neville Whiteley (Room One)

Alan Jones, Chief Executive (Room B)

Elaine Gault, Policy Officer (Room A)

Tom Van der Hoven, Head of Administration (Room C)

Winchester

Councillor Dominic Hiscock (Room C)

Councillor Clare McKenna (Room B)

Councillor Donald Stewart (Room One)

David Cowan, Chief Executive (Room A)

Association of Hampshire Parish and Town Councils (HAPTC)

Councillor Alan Lovell (Room A)

Councillor Jean Pittfield (Room B)

Community Action Hampshire

Richard Tulloch, Chief Executive (Room A)

Mid Beds District Council

Councillor Andy Rayment, Leader (Room B)

Bedfordshire County Council

Bill Hamilton, Assistant Chief Executive (Room One)

DETR

Avril Atkinson, Local Government Modernising Team (Room A)

South East Employers

Madeleine Sumsion, Regional Director (Room One)

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities (HIOW)

Nick Goulder, Policy Manager (Room C)

Diane Allen, PA to Policy Manager

Last update: 05/10/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

Web Space  provided by Hampshire County Council

TOP OF PAGE