Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary and Non-Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests


No declarations of interest were made.


(During consideration of declarations of interests, Councillors Ben Bradley and Lauren Mitchell entered the meeting at 6.34 p.m.)



Minutes pdf icon PDF 155 KB



that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 10th January, 2017, be received and approved.



Scrutiny Consideration of Community Engagement - Introduction from Corporate Performance and Improvement Manager pdf icon PDF 121 KB


The Chairman introduced the item and reminded Members that the Community Engagement item had been added to the Scrutiny Workplan in 2016 with an aim to considering how the Council and Councillors currently engaged with local communities.  Craig Bonar, Service Director for Corporate Services and Transformation and Jo Froggatt, Corporate Performance and Improvement Manager were also in attendance at the meeting to assist Members with their discussions.


The Scrutiny Manager informed the Panel that there is a corporate review of engagement to be undertaken during 2017 which would be commencing shortly.  To ensure there was no duplication of work, it was intended that the Panel’s recommendations from the meeting would feed into the wider engagement review as appropriate.


It was acknowledged that local communities currently engaged with the Council and Councillors in a variety of ways.  The democratic process allowed opportunities for the public to proactively engage in the decision making process and the Council were continually committed towards ensuring that engagement and consultation with the public was undertaken as widely and as often as possible.


The primary methods for active engagement and involvement with the community included:-


·         community attendance and involvement at Area Committees, Planning Committee and Council meetings;

·         community participation and involvement in the Scrutiny process;

·         formal consultation exercises;

·         specific projects (i.e. the New Cross Project);

·         Locality Team support for community groups and organisations;

·         submission of petitions (paper and e-petitions);

·         Councillor surgeries;

·         social media presence;

·         introduction of new website – more accessible and user friendly;

·         live twitter feeds from Council events.


For the purposes of the meeting, Members were requested to express their views in relation to the Council’s current engagement methods, how effective they were, what worked well for them and what, if anything, could be done better.  The Service Director, Corporate Services and Transformation commented about managing the expectations of the public in relation to engagement and ensuring that any methods utilised remained good value for money.  It was also acknowledged that the Council needed to maximise its use of social media outlets in the future, recognising its effectiveness at reaching communities swiftly and in large numbers, at minimum cost.


The Council’s Corporate Performance and Improvement Manager gave a presentation to the Panel entitled ‘What is Engagement?’


Recognised levels of engagement were quoted as follows:-


Informing (telling people something)

Consulting (asking people what they think)

Involving (bringing people together to talk about issues)

Empowering (enabling people to make decisions themselves).


Members were advised of the benefits of good community engagement:-


1.    it can create social connections between individuals and groups;

2.    it can enhance the motivation and capacity to participate in decision-making, instead of being passive recipients;

3.    it fosters a more open relationship with residents;

4.    it generates capacity in the community, by building on assets, networks and local identity;

5.    it helps residents understand and access the system more easily, interacting with the Council more.


The results of the Council’s Place Survey, undertaken in 2016, had shown that the public’s preferred method of contacting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.