Agenda and minutes

Policy and Organisation Board
Wednesday, 25th November, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Lisa Young  Email: lisa.young@gosport.gov.uk

Link: Click here to access live meeting

Items
No. Item

27.

Apologies for non-attendance

Minutes:

An apology for non attendance was received from Councillor Murphy.

28.

Declarations of interest

All members are required to disclose at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter, any disclosable pecuniary interest or personal interest in any item(s) being considered at this meeting.

Minutes:

There were none.

29.

Minutes of the meeting of the board held on 29/09/2020 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 29th September 2020 be signed as a true and correct record.

30.

Deputations - Standing Order 3.4

(Note: The Board is required to receive a deputation(s) on a matter which is before the meeting of the Board provided that notice of the intended deputation and its object shall have been received by the Borough Solicitor by 12 noon on Monday 23rd November 2020. The total time for deputations in favour and against a proposal shall not exceed 10 minutes)

Minutes:

There were none.

31.

Public Questions - Standing order 3.5

(NOTE: The Board is required to allow a total of 15 minutes for questions from members of the public on matters within the terms of reference of the Board provided that notice of such Question(s) shall have been submitted to the Borough Solicitor by 12 noon on Monday 23rd November 2020 )

Minutes:

There were none.

32.

Citizen's Advice Presentation

Minutes:

A presentation was given by the CO and CEO of Citizen’s Advice Gosport.

33.

Local Government and Police & Crime Commissioner Elections pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To advise the Board of the steps being taken in preparation for the ‘triple’ elections being held on Thursday, 06 May 2021 in the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Returning Officer and the Electoral Registration Officer advising the Board of the steps being taken in preparation for the ‘triple’ elections being held on Thursday, 06 May 2021 in the current Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Members were advised that the date in paragraph 2.6.1 needed to be amended to the 8th May.

 

In answer to a Member’s question, the Board was advised that consideration was  being given to the nomination process and returning officers and parties had be written to with an update. It was anticipated that parties would produce their own guidance for candidates to consider when obtaining nominations.

 

The Board was advised that under the representation of the people act the Returning Officer already had power to make emergency changes to polling station between 7 – 10 days before an election if required. Members expressed concern that any late changes may not be advised to the electorate, however it was felt Council staff would do their best to ensure people were notified.

 

 

In answer to a Member’s question, the Board was advised that with regard to the campaign material in relation to elections, there was information available online, but there would not be any television advertising as it was felt it was too soon to use such an approach and these would begin in March and April.

 

The Board were advised that once the Register of Electors had been published more social media about the elections would be used through the Council’s channels.

 

The Board was advised that with regard to staffing, the current covid safe requirements meant there would be a need for more sessions for issuing postal votes. The staff required were highlighted as job roles, many staff would take on roles at different sessions, reducing the number of people required. In addition, as a triple election, there would be three different counts, requiring additional staff roles.

 

The Board was advised that the extensions requested to emergency provision were only to cover the covid pandemic and once that period was over, the delegated powers would return to their previous levels.

 

Members welcomed that consideration was being given to potential issues in advance of the election.

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

1.   That the Board note the changes necessary to ensure a safe and efficient run Poll during the Covid-19 pandemic;

2.   That the Board note that more changes and amendments may be required to the current planning and procedures based on national, regional or local restrictions placed on the Returning Officer, his appointed staff, electors, candidates, agents and observers; and that

3.   That authority be delegated to the Returning Officer to make changes to the Polling Places required for use in these and future Polls whilst the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic response is in effect.

34.

RIPA POLICY - CROSS REFERENCE FROM THE STANDARDS AND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Subject to consideration of the Standards and Governance Committee this report may be subject to Policy and Organisation Board approval.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a cross reference report from the Standards and Governance Committee recommended the approval of the RIPA policy.

 

In answer to a Member’s question, the Board was advised that the principle reason for review was a change in the authorised officers.

 

The Board were advised that RIPA had been used once in 3 years.

 

 

RESOLVED: That the Policy and Organisation Board approve the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) Policy 2020 subject to the minor amendments identified.



 

35.

Risk Policy - Cross Reference from the Standards and Governance Committee pdf icon PDF 37 KB

It is proposed that this report be presented to the Standards and Governance Committee as a late report, subject to consideration of the Committee it may be subject to Policy and Organisation Board approval.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a cross reference report from the Standards and Governance Committee recommending the Policy and Organisation Board approve the Risk Policy. In answer a Members question the Board was advised that a balanced approach was taken, and that risk could be considered as an opportunity and encourage officers to see it that way.

 

RESOLVED: That that Policy and Organisation Board approve the Risk Policy

36.

Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To seek approval from Members in regards to the draft Annual Governance Statement (AGS) 2019/20

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Internal Auditor requesting consideration be given to the Annual Governance Statement 2019/20.

 

The Board was advised that the Committee agreed the Statement in July and was required to be signed before the accounts were agreed. The only changes made were detailed at the end of the report as Governance Issues 1, 4 and 5 had now been completed.

 

RESOLVED: That the Policy and Organisation Board approve the Annual Governance Statement 2019/20, following the approval from the Standards and Governance Committee on July 9th 2020.

 

 

37.

Ernst & Young 2019-2020 Audit Results Report pdf icon PDF 54 KB

This report summarises the findings to date from the 2019-20 external audit, which is substantially completeThis report summarises the findings to date from the 2019-20 external audit, which is substantially complete

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Returning Officer and the Electoral Registration Officer advising the Board of the steps being taken in preparation for the ‘triple’ elections being held on Thursday, 06 May 2021 in the current Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Members were advised that the date in paragraph 2.6.1 needed to be amended to the 8th May.

 

In answer to a Member’s question, the Board was advised that consideration was being given to the nomination process and returning officers and political parties had been written to with an update by the Electoral Commission. It was anticipated that political parties would produce their own guidance for candidates to consider when obtaining signatures for nomination papers.

 

The Board was advised that under the Representation of the people act the Returning Officer already had power to make changes to polling station in emergency situations before an election. Members expressed concern that any late changes may not be advised to the electorate, however it was felt Council staff would do their best to ensure electors were notified at the earliest opportunity.

 

 

In answer to a Member’s question, the Board was advised that with regard to the campaign material in relation to elections, there was information available online, but there would not be any television advertising as it was felt it was too soon to use such an approach and these would begin in March and April.

 

The Board were advised that once the Register of Electors had been published on 01 December 2020 the social media campaign and information about the elections would be used through the Council’s platforms.

 

The Board was advised that with regard to staffing, the current covid safe workplace requirements meant there would be a need for more sessions for issuing and opening postal votes, and that a timetable/slot for each Electoral Ward would be published to help reduce the total number present in the Postal Vote venue. In addition, as this will be a triple election, there would be three different counts, requiring additional staff roles.

 

The Board was advised that the extensions requested to emergency provision were only to cover the covid pandemic and once that period was over, the delegated powers would expire.

 

Members welcomed that consideration was being given to potential issues in advance of the election.

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

1.   That the Board note the changes necessary to ensure a safe and efficient run Poll during the Covid-19 pandemic;

2.   That the Board note that more changes and amendments may be required to the current planning and procedures based on national, regional or local restrictions placed on the Returning Officer, his appointed staff, electors, candidates, agents and observers; and that

3.   That authority be delegated to the Returning Officer to make changes to the Polling Places required for use in these and future Polls whilst the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic response is in effect.

 

38.

Approval of the 2019-2020 Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Report to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Borough Treasurer summarises the outturn position for the 2019/20 financial year and recommends the approval of the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20.

 

The Head of Finance advised the Board of the context of the report.

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

It is recommended that:

 

i)    The Board note the outturn position summarised in the report and the Narrative Report contained in the Statement of Accounts (Appendix A)

 

ii)   The Board approves the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20 at

  Appendix A

 

iii)  The Board approve the Letter of Representation at Appendix B

 

iv)  The Board delegate to the Borough Treasurer in consultation with        the Chairman of the Policy & Organisation Board the decision to      agree any final changes to the financial statement arising from the completion of the audit.

 

39.

Any other items

Minutes:

There were none.

40.

Exclusion of the Public

RESOLVED: That in relation to the following item the public should be excluded from the meeting, as it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during this item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information within Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, and further that in all circumstances of the cases, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons set out in the report.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That in relation to the following items the public be excluded from the meeting, as it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during these items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information within Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, and further that in all circumstances of the cases, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons set out in the report.

 

41.

GROUNDS MAINTENANCE MACHINERY TENDER

That the Board consider the recommendation of the Community Board held on the 4 November 2020.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a cross reference report from their Community Board recommending approval of the recommendation of the award of contracts as listed.