Agenda and minutes

Democratic Services Committee - Friday, 27th January, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room 7 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Leanne Rowlands  Democratic and Electoral Services Manager


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:




Minutes of Meeting held on 13 December 2022 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

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The Minutes of the meeting were held as a true record.




Participation Strategy: Ward Meetings pdf icon PDF 171 KB

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The Chair noted that there had been a robust discussion on Ward Meetings at the last committee where officers had been asked to come back with amended proposals.

The Members of the Committee were asked to note an email from Councillor Al-Nuaimi received by the committee which were his thoughts on the proposals for Ward meetings which endorsed the conclusions from the last meeting.

The Democratic and Electoral Services Manager presented the report to the committee.

Main Points:

·       This report proposal was considered in December 2022 and recognised the Council’s adoption of a Participation Strategy earlier that year. This set out the Council’s commitment to develop more ways of engaging with residents, which includes seeking their views as part of the decision-making process.

·       The report recognised the value of meeting face to face with residents as another channel of interaction that sits alongside other methods of engagement.

·       Ward meetings in the past were held with residents at the request of ward members, with a maximum 3 meetings a year that were supported by officers.

·       The proposals sought to formalise support and to use that as a platform to acknowledge the consultation with residents regarding the Participation Strategy last year. The feedback indicated residents wanted the Council to be visible in the community, ask residents about what mattered to them and to explore alternative methods of engagement. 

·       Setting the budget is one of the most important decisions that the Council makes, so having this as a standard item on one of the ward meeting agendas would boost the feedback and involvement of residents as part of this process. Similarly, having performance updates as a standard agenda item on another ward meeting date in the year would support the Participation Strategy’s objective of supporting the public to digest and explore information before they may be asked to give their opinion or recommendations.

·       It was acknowledged that digital engagement was useful and there was a place for it but there was an aim to look to improve different ways of engagement using face to face as a platform as an addition.

·       In the previous committee meeting, the feedback from members concluded that there was a concern with limiting ward member meetings to 2 a year and it was felt it was important for residents to set part of the agenda which reflected the issues pertinent in that community.

·       Feedback also stated that members wanted support for engagement before meetings to make sure they were happening and to publicise meetings with advertisements through a number of channels, such as online, through Newport Matters and in local community spaces.

·       It was proposed that a third meeting could be retained, and the team could provide administration support to secure venues and help to promote the meetings, but this third meeting would not be supported by senior officers. The other two meetings would be supported by senior officers and it was recognised that that this represented a significant investment of resource in supporting ward engagement activities.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Date of next Meeting

21 February 2023 at 10am

Additional documents:


            21 February 2023 at 10am

·       The Chair requested a Forward Work Plan to go on the agenda.

·       The Chair also requested a proposal for the timing of Questions to the Leader at Council to be extended to half hour if the Committee were happy to discuss this at a future committee.

·       A Committee Member stated that the constitution had been recently amended and the Chair stated that some anomalies have come up and the Standing Orders needed to be looked at.

·       A Committee Member stated that this topic had been robustly debated previously and there was a strong feeling on it. 

·       The Democratic Services Manager confirmed that there would be an update on Member Training at the next meeting and the Chair commented that he wanted more items on the agenda.

·       A Committee Member requested that the committee discussed Voter ID and could there be a presentation on this at a future committee.

·       A Committee Member stated that maybe in future the role of the Standards Committee could be involved in future in relation to member training and this committee could give more feedback on this training.

·       The Chair stated that he felt that the Standards Committee did not have the power to make members attend training.

·       A Committee Member confirmed that the Standards Committee informed the leaders of all political groups of what members were not attending training.

·       The Chair stated that the Code of Conduct was advisable but not mandatory.

·       The Democratic Services Manager confirmed that there would be a third and final opportunity for Code of Conduct training at the end of February 2023.

·       The Head of Law and Standards confirmed that the leaders of the political groups would be reporting to the Standards Committee in April 2023.