Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall
Contact: Graham Watts, Principal Democratic Officer (01522 873439)
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 January 2018 be confirmed, subject to an amendment to the attendance record to reflect that Chris Elkington (Independent Person) and Roger Vine (Reserve Independent Person) were both in attendance.
Declarations of Interest
Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.
No declarations of interest were received.
The Principal Democratic Officer:
(a) Presented a report which provided the Ethics and Engagement Committee with an opportunity to consider and comment on the draft induction programme for newly elected members following the City of Lincoln Council elections scheduled to be held on 3 May 2018;
(b) Provided an outline of the proposed induction programme, which included the following over two days:
· a welcome and tour of City Hall;
· formalities, including the issuing of City Hall access cards, photographs and the completion of necessary paperwork;
· the provision of an email account and IT equipment;
· a meeting with the Chief Executive and Directors to provide an overview of the 2020 Vision and outline service priorities within their respective directorates;
· a session on the Code of Conduct and meeting procedure rules;
· a range of sessions to provide an opportunity to meet key officers from the main service areas of the Council.
(c) Reported that the Member Development Programme would complement the induction programme.
(d) Reported that an induction pack would be provided to newly elected members, including an information booklet on the City Council as appended to the report together with a range of other documents.
(e) Invited members’ questions and comments.
Councillor Strengiel felt that all members of the Council should be given an opportunity to comment on the proposed member induction programme. Graham Watts, Principal Democratic Officer, therefore agreed to circulate the report to all members via email and seek any comments or suggested improvements.
Councillor Hills asked whether any political input was proposed for inclusion in the induction programme and made the point that it would be important for new members to understand who key members, such as Executive Portfolio Holders, were. It was noted that the induction programme facilitated by officers would not include any political aspects and that such issues would be addressed via the relevant political group. The induction booklet appended to the report did set out the decision-making structure of the Council, including Executive Portfolio Holder responsibilities, but it was suggested that photographs of members should be included in the induction pack.
Councillor Metcalfe suggested the inclusion of an officer structure chart and contact numbers in the induction pack to assist newly elected members in understanding where any casework issues should be reported to. It was noted that the Democratic Services team would also assist newly elected members with signposting to relevant officers and service areas until they became used to where specific things should be reported to. With regard to the officer structure chart, it was agreed that this would be referred to the Council’s Communications team who was responsible for maintaining officer records on the authority’s City People system suggesting that photographs of senior officers be included in the chart.
Members highlighted that the induction booklet appended to the report contained some out of date contact information and a hyperlink that did not work properly. It was noted that officers would proof-read the document and check all hyperlinks prior to circulating to all ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
National Democracy Week
The Legal and Democratic Services Manager:
(a) Reported that the inaugural National Democracy Week would be held during the week commencing 2 July 2018 and would be themed on the Suffrage Centenary as the country celebrated two significant anniversaries of 100 years since women won the right to vote and 90 years since women won equal voting rights to men.
(b) Reported that an officer working group had initially met to consider ways in which the Council could engage with the anniversaries and had made the following suggestions:
· interview with the Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion;
· interviews with female members of the Council and potential monthly features in the lead up to National Democracy Week;
· interview with Councillor Yvonne Bodger as the Council’s last female Mayor;
· interviews or an event with the Chief Executive and other leading women in the area;
· interview with the Member of Parliament for Lincoln.
(c) Suggested that the Council, through the Ethics and Engagement Committee, could host an event to tie in with these anniversaries and promote democratic participation in under-represented groups. The next meeting of the Committee was scheduled to be held on 2 July 2018, which was the start of National Democracy Week, so an event could be held in the afternoon prior to the meeting. The event could incorporate a debate on the subject of the two anniversaries or democracy in general, and could include representation from the University of Lincoln or other community groups.
(d) Highlighted the ‘Equaliteas’ events being held across the country between 18 June 2018 and 2 July 2018 which invited communities to share, debate and celebrate what equality meant to them.
(e) Invited members’ questions and comments.
Councillor Ellis, Chair of the Ethics and Engagement Committee, was keen for the Committee to support the proposed event on 2 July 2018 to raise awareness of equality and engagement and in celebration of the two anniversaries, together with supporting and promoting National Democracy Week.
Councillor Metcalfe, Leader of the Council, thought that the proposed event was an excellent idea with democratic engagement very much a part of this Committee’s remit adding that it was appropriate for the Council as the local democratic organisation in Lincoln to do something such as this.
Councillor Maxwell queried whether students at the University of Lincoln would still be in residence in the city on 2 July 2018 to take part in this proposed event. It was noted that, although the majority of students would depart in mid-June, a significant number of students stayed in Lincoln over the summer.
A suggestion was made to invite secondary schools and sixth forms to the event and the Chair made reference to a lack of engagement from schools in the lead-up to Local Democracy Week in October 2017 following invitations he had sent to every Head Teacher in the city. Councillor Tweddle felt that schools would respond better to personal invitations from local members who may still have links with schools and ... view the full minutes text for item 21.