2021/22 Programme of Meetings
To consider the above report
Members considered the programme of meetings for 2021/22.
Councillor Johnson highlighted that the programme had been drafted in a way that accommodated the request to avoid school holidays wherever possible following feedback in the previous year. The programme also sought to more evenly spread out the meetings of full Council.
Councillor Davies commented that she had raised the school holiday issue and full Council and she was therefore pleased that this had been taken into account. Although no one could have envisaged the changes in working practices a year ago, the small move to being more family friendly was a good thing.
Councillor Baldwin echoed the comments of Councillor Davies. In relation to frequency and predictability to allow Members to plan their time, he was concerned that there had been frequent Extraordinary Council meetings in 2020/21.He requested some effort in advance by the administration to give Members as much forward notice as possible. Predictability and some consultation would be welcomed.
Councillor L. Jones agreed that getting more certainty and the programme being more family friendly was brilliant. However she raised a concern that when the council returned to face to face meetings, a 6.15pm start could be unachievable for those who worked and also lived some distance form Maidenhead. Before COVID-19 the general start time was 7pm.
Councillor Knowles acknowledged things had been different on the last year but he commented that there had been 11 full Council meetings, some of them quite long. He requested that the Mayor and leader be mindful of the length of meetings. He was also concerned about extraordinary meetings that transacted important business as they did not have the same functionality as an ordinary meeting, for example Members were not able to submit Motions on Notice.
Councillor Cannon echoed the comments of Councillor Jones that 7pm was an appropriate start time when the council returned to face to face meetings.
Councillor Bateson thanked the Democratic Services team for putting the draft programme of meetings together as she knew it was a difficult job.
Councillor Rayner commented that the programme showed the wide range of responsibilities the council had as a unitary authority and its efforts in support of transparency. She thanked the Democratic Services team for managing all the events.
Councillor Johnson commented that he accepted the valid point about start times. Once there was greater clarity on when the council would be able to return to face to face meetings, this would be factored in. He also recognised the request for as much notice as possible for extraordinary meetings and the need to manage lengthy meetings. There had been a number of extraordinary meetings required during the year, in part driven by the wider situation in the world. He highlighted that the petition for debate could have been deferred to a future ordinary meeting but it was felt important to hold the debate as soon as possible, therefore an extraordinary meeting had been called.
It was proposed by Councillor Johnson, seconded by Councillor Rayner, and:
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That full Councilnotes the report and:
i) Approves the programme of meetings for the 2021/22 Municipal Year, attached as Appendix A