Friday, September 21, 2012

New decision-making processes

Amidst all the 'webcasting' excitement ...I forgot to flag up the very substantial report (and changes) that were made to the Council's decision-making processes yesterday. They will all come into effect from next month, October 2012.

The relevant News Release is below, which highlights the upcoming establishment of:
  • a first for Edinburgh, a Petitions Committee chaired by the Opposition (Greens)
  • a new Best Value & Governance regime, also chaired by the Opposition (Conservatives)
  • and, believe it or not, another first for Edinburgh - a draft Budget to be published months before budget-setting day; via a new Finance and Budget Committee
  • and a new Communities and Neighbourhoods Executive Committee, which will look at the development of Neighbourhood Partnerships and their relationship with other aspects of the Council
I'm now looking forward to these changes coming into effect.

Council performance to be open to greater scrutiny

Published Friday 14 September 2012
Decision-making and monitoring processes at the Council are to be improved if proposals to change the current committee system are approved at a meeting of all councillors next week.

The new arrangements include a greater focus on achieving and reporting on the commitments set out in the Capital Coalition agreement in May. The meeting at which this report will be discussed is also the first ever Council debate in Edinburgh to be webcast.

Council Leader, Cllr Andrew Burns, said: "People in Edinburgh told us clearly that they wanted better opportunities to influence Council decisions and to see that the quality of our processes was open to greater scrutiny. The way we have approached this review underlines how we want to do our business generally, in that it shows we have listened to the public and opposition groups and have made changes in response to their constructive criticism.
"These arrangements will help us to deliver on our priorities of providing excellent services for the capital and will also help to rebuild a relationship with residents based on trust."

The main elements of the report to Council include:
  • A petitions committee to give the public greater opportunities to influence Council business
  • A new corporate policy and strategy committee to focus on the Council's overall priorities
  • A revised set of decision-making committees*
  • Sub-committees for each of these focussing on developing policies in line with the coalition pledges and review performance
  • Proposals to improve the quality of Council reports and streamline the business put to committees
  • A new Governance, Risk and Best Value committee, with a stronger and wider remit than the current Audit committee, to monitor and evaluate all of the committees
  • Keeping existing arrangements for planning and licensing

*The new committees are:
  • Communities and Neighbourhoods
  • Culture and Sport
  • Economy
  • Education, Children and Families
  • Finance and Budget
  • Health, Wellbeing and Housing
  • Transport and Environment


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