Sunday, 17 December 2017

Merry Christmas: City of Launceston COUNCIL AGENDA Monday 18 December 2017 130 21.3

Reading this agenda item and just before Christmas you just know that your council has your best interests at heart. Who needs to know all the ins and outs of council business and especially so while the cutting and drying is going on. 

You see Strategic Planning and Policy Committee meetings should be arranged so all that goes on quite quietly and well away the rabble and to avoid the annoyance that too many ratepayers cause. 

Workshops (definition yet to be provided) are the place where the officers can pull those aldermen who are inclined to listen to their constituents into line. You see confidentiality without too much accountability is what is required for efficiency and effective management. Anyway, most constituents never read council agendas and when they do get to them they find them unedifying and somewhat obtuse. 

Do not worry quite a few (most?) aldermen do not bother to read them either and some even boast they do not as there is no point since they are there for the record only. Thus they are of minimal use. The real stuff is never written down because that sort of thing only gets one into trouble. 

But anyway here we go look at this agenda item to see what you can make of it.  It is after all  Christmas!

"21.3 Action in Respect of the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee FILE NO: SF3108

AUTHOR: John Davis (Manager Corporate Strategy) 

GENERAL MANAGER: Michael Stretton (General Manager)

  • DECISION STATEMENT: To consider disbanding the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee.   
  • PREVIOUS COUNCIL CONSIDERATION: Pre-Council Workshop - 4 December 2017
  • RECOMMENDATION: That Council disbands the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee. 
 REPORT: The General Manager met with Aldermen on 4 December 2017 to discuss the possibility of disbanding the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee (SPPC). The SPPC has been in operation for many years having initially been established as a Special Committee under section 24 of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act). 

The Council's former Governance Arrangement Policy and Strategic Planning and Policy Committee Policy initially set out the parameters of the Committee, namely that: 
  • Its role was to consider and discuss significant long-term policy matters and make recommendations to Council; 
  • It comprised membership of Aldermen and Council Directors; 
  • Was provided with no delegated authority; and 
  • Its Meetings were to be held in closed session
In 2013 the Council revised the arrangements for the SPPC to achieve compliance with the former Local Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 2005 (Regulations)

The revised arrangements included the following changes: 
  • The Committee was formed under section 23 of the Act as a Council Committee and therefore the representatives were limited to Aldermen; 
  • Notices of meetings were published in The Examiner; 
  • Meetings were open to the public; 
  • An ability for the Committee to make a decision to enter into a Closed Meeting; 
  • Minutes to be generated and managed in accordance with the regulations. 
 Since this time the Council has operated the SPPC under the above-mentioned terms, however, it has also conducted Aldermen Workshops following the conclusion of the Council Committee Meetings. 

In practice, the opening up of the SPPC Meetings to members of the public has caused fewer and fewer matters to be directed to these Meetings. This is due to the public nature of the Meetings which has made it difficult for Aldermen and staff to freely discuss and work through matters. 

Indeed, the public nature of these Meetings has caused issues for the Council whereby matters are being prematurely released into the public realm before the Council and Council officers are able to thoroughly work through issues together. 

Accordingly, it is considered that the current SPPC is not fulfilling its primary purpose of providing a forum for Aldermen and Senior Officers to 'consider significant long-term policy matters' and as such it may be a more appropriate use of time and resources to dissolve the SPPC Special Committee in favour of Council Workshops. 

ECONOMIC IMPACT: Not considered relevant to this report. 
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Not considered relevant to this report. 
SOCIAL IMPACT: Not considered relevant to this report."

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