Issue - meetings

Coronavirus - Emergency Governance Measures

Meeting: 13/05/2020 - South Holland District Council (Item 8)

8 Coronavirus- Emergency Governance Measures pdf icon PDF 387 KB

To consider emergency Governance measures in relation to (i) the determination of planning applications; (ii) the determination of taxi licensing applications; (iii) virtual meetings; (iv) the peacetime emergency delegation to the Chief Executive; and (v) vacation of office by failure to attend meetings (report of the Director of Strategy and Governance (Monitoring Officer) enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Strategy and Governance (Monitoring Officer) to consider emergency Governance measures in relation to (i) the determination of planning applications; (ii) the determination of taxi licensing applications; (iii) virtual meetings; (iv) the peacetime emergency delegation to the Chief Executive; and (v) vacation of office by failure to attend meetings.

 

The Director of Strategy and Governance highlighted the following areas:

 

  • The proposed delegations supplement but do not replace existing committee powers.
  • Where any member is unable to attend a meeting for a period of six months, such absence can only be authorised by the Council in advance of expiry of that period.
  • In light of experience of the roll-call method of voting adopted during the meeting, the Executive Manager for Governance proposed that the Council might wish to delegate authority to him to make a further amendment to Standing Orders, enabling the Chairman to exercise discretion to allow voting by a show of hands or use of a voting system.

 

Councillor Alcock asked whether the officer delegations could be brought to an end early, should a return to physical meetings be possible within the next six months. The Executive Manager for Governance responded that the delegations would not prevent committees from exercising their usual powers, but that a further report could be presented to Council terminating the delegations early.

 

Councillor Alcock asked whether an applicant retains the right of appeal for non-determination of an application. The Executive Manager for Governance confirmed that this was the case – assuming that agreement could not be reached to extend the period for determination.

 

Councillor Alcock asked how any member request for determination by the Planning Committee would assessed and determined. The Executive Manager for Governance responded that the Chairman’s Panel would consider any application ‘called in’ for determination by the Committee. The Officer exercising delegated authority would be required to give significant weight to the view of the Panel before deciding whether to exercise his/her delegation. The application would likely be held back for committee but ultimately the decision lies with the officer.

 

Councillor Alcock asked how a request by the Chairman’s Panel to refer an application to Committee would be assessed and determined. The Executive Manager for Governance confirmed that the Panel can, of its own volition, suggest that an application is referred to Planning Committee for determination. Again, the officer concerned would have to give significant weight to the view of the Panel before deciding whether to exercise his/her delegated authority.

 

Councillor Alcock asked who would decide whether an application raises novel or contentious planning issues, and whether this would be restricted to the opinion of officers. The Executive Manager for Governance advised that this would be a matter for the officer. However, members do retain the right of call-in so if members felt there were particular material planning considerations which were potentially novel or contentious issues, they could call-in the application.

 

Councillor Walsh asked whether it would be considered prudent to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8