Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary, Overview & Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 2nd March, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. View directions

Contact: Charles Hungwe 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Declarations of Interest

    To receive any declarations of interest. Members are advised to consider the advice contained within the Declaration of Interest form attached at the back of this agenda. If a Member declares an interest, they should complete that form and hand it to the officer clerking the meeting and then take the prescribed course of action.


    There were no declarations of interest.


Business Case, Single East Kent Council pdf icon PDF 17 KB

    Additional documents:


    Madeline Homer, CEx introduced the report and gave a brief background of the process that started with a July 2016 Full Council adoption of the Statement of Intent to explore the potential for the creation of a single East Kent district by the five district councils. They then asked for the drafting of a business case to explore the proposals further. This led to a report that was considered by Cabinet on 16 February 2017.


    Hannah Thorpe, Head of Communications gave a rundown of the methodology to be used for the public consultation and stakeholder engagement. Miss Thorpe made the following points:


    • There would be four strands to the consultation;

    §  1,000 sample survey to be used, consisting of 250 randomly selected residents for each of the four districts that will take part.

    §  There will be pre-selection questions that will be asked before respondents are accepted into the 1,000 sample population;

    §  There will be an open questionnaire which can be completed by any member of the public;

    • Single day Stakeholder Forum to be held with local businesses, education and other sectors;
    • Series of residents stakeholder forum events to be held;
    • All of the above events to be co-ordinated by an external organisation ORS (Opinion Research Services) who are highly qualified and have conducted similar events in Dorset and Cambridgeshire;
    • ORS have requested for a Member briefing session to advise councillors on the process for the public consultation to be used ahead of the consultation events;
    • The consultation will be launched on 24 March 2017.


    When the Chairman invited the Panel to comment on the proposals for the East Kent Merger as contained in the report, the following comments and points were raised:


    • Would the approach to the consultation be same across the four local councils that are involved in the proposals?
    • How would the selection for the respondents to the consultation survey be done?
    • What would happen if one of the councils pulled out of the proposed project after the public consultation?
    • Was the final decision to be made by Cabinet or Full Council?
    • How did these proposals link with proposals for devolution?
    • In the event of the merger going ahead would councils share each individual council’s debt?
    • What was the combined debt for the four local authorities?
    • Was the Panel going to have another opportunity to review the proposals further down the process of the merger?
    • Has inflation for the period in question been factored into the proposals (up to 2015)?
    • There were growth rate reported in the business case of 19-27%. Where did Thanet sit on that scale and in what sectors were these figures in reference to?
    • Would the electoral boundaries have been resolved by the time the election for the new council?
    • Would the local Plan being drafted be put on hold until after the merger?


    Members also made the following observations:


Annual OSP Report to Council 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 186 KB


    The Chairman asked for comments from members of the Panel. In response one Member suggested that the pilot scheme for public speaking at Panel meetings should have been flexible enough to extend the deadline for members of the public to register to speak right up to the start of the meeting rather than three working days before the meeting. Mr Hughes advised that a report reviewing the public speaking trial would be considered by the Panel on 25 April 2017.


    The Chairman then invited Members to contact him after the meeting with comments that he could consider including in the Annual Report. One Member was concerned that in the previous municipal year such comments were forwarded but some Members felt that those comments were not included in the final version of the report that went to Council.


    There being no further comments the Panel noted and agreed that the report be forwarded to Full Council.