Falkirk Council Agenda - 18 September 2015, 15:30 Help

A meeting to be held at Council Chambers, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk at 15:30 on 18 September 2015.

Number Item

Members should declare any financial and non-financial interests they have in any item of business at the meeting, identifying the relevant agenda item and the nature of the interest.

Accounts Commission Report

Council welcomes the recent report and comments from the Accounts Commission, following the Best Value Audit. While it emphasises that Falkirk Council provides in the main good quality services, there are areas where we know we need to improve.

It is therefore clear that for the Council to move forward, in order to continue to deliver good quality and affordable services for the people of Falkirk we need to look to do things differently, innovatively and collaboratively.

There is a clear emphasis in the Commission's Report that elected members need to be driving the change that is needed within Falkirk Council and in order to do that they need to be better informed, able to participate and have an opportunity to influence outcomes while working more collaboratively.

Officers are therefore requested to bring forward an outline action plan with a timeline for implementation by March 2016 to the Statutory meeting to be held as part of the Full Council agenda on 7th October.

Consideration of incorporation of the following changes would further enable the Council in taking this process forward.

1. The reform of the full Council meeting to provide for proper access to be given to back bench and opposition Councillors. This would include provision for notices of motion and/or dedicated opposition time.

2. The reform of the Executive, cutting the number of members to three portfolio holders, Leader and Depute Leader of the Administration and three opposition members.

3. The slimmed down Executive should be the main policy development forum of the Council with regular meetings designed as development stages operating under suspension of standing orders.

4. The reduction of portfolio holders to three to match the number of service departments not only sets an example, but is consistent with changes which have already been implemented and others which are planned within the workplace.

5. Opposition groups to have the freedom to nominate whoever they wish from within their own ranks to committees.

6. The opposition will hold one of the places on the Health and Social Care Integrated Joint Board.

7. Audit Scotland clearly stated that the Performance Panel must be held in public. In order to meet this condition the agenda will be merged with the main Scrutiny with adjustments between Scrutiny 1 and Scrutiny 2.

8. A full review of Standing Orders is carried out, in order to incorporate the principles of fairness and openness and to encourage complete accountability.

9. The Business Transformation Project needs the benefit of political influence and drive. It is therefore essential to incorporate cross party representation on the Project Board.

10. Reflecting on the Accounts Commission report and the need for elected members of all political colours to be more informed and engaged within the budget planning process makes it an essential requirement to set up a cross party budget working group.

Recommendation - That all of the above be considered as part of the process of improvement required following publication of the Accounts Commission Report and form part of the process for the development of an "improvement plan".
 View Papers