Agenda Item 5                                                                        18th February 2011To the Chair and Me...
record (Appendix 3) sets out the reasons for the decision together with the      alternatives considered and rejected.5.  ...
argue that a basic assessment of what community structures are available would at      least give an indication of communi...
appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Panel. The Committee may wish to take      account of any timescales that are crucial to...
9 within the Council’s Constitution details the necessary steps involved in the Call In      process.FINANCIAL IMPLICATION...
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Doncaster library service call in (report)

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Doncaster library service call in (report)

  1. 1. Agenda Item 5 18th February 2011To the Chair and Members of theOVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEECALL IN OF EXECUTIVE DECISION – Library Service ReviewEXECUTIVE SUMMARY1. This report provides the opportunity for the OSMC to consider the Called In decision relating to the Library Service Review. The Committee will be given the opportunity to hear the views expressed by those Members triggering the call-in and also any response from the Executive. Following its consideration of all relevant issues the Committee will agree its recommendations.EXEMPT REPORT2. This call in report does not contain exempt information.RECOMMENDATION3. The Committee is asked to: - Consider the reasons identified for call-in and determine the most appropriate course of action, this may include the following: (i) refer the decision back to the Executive for reconsideration in the light of the recommendations from the Committee. (ii) request that the decision be deferred until Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee or Panels have considered relevant issues and made recommendations to the Executive. (iii) take no action in relation to the called-in decision(s) but consider whether issues arising from the call-in need to be added to the work programme of an existing or new Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee. (iv) if, but only if (having taken the advice of the Monitoring Officer and/or the Chief Finance Officer), the Committee determine that the decision(s) is wholly or partly outside the Budget and Policy Framework refer the matter, with any recommendations, to the Council after following the procedure in Rule 8 of the Budget and Policy Framework Procedure Rules. Only in this case is there a continuing bar on implementing the decision.BACKGROUND4. The background to this decision is outlined in the report considered by the Cabinet on the 4th February 2011 and is attached in Appendix 2. The abridged decision
  2. 2. record (Appendix 3) sets out the reasons for the decision together with the alternatives considered and rejected.5. On Thursday 10th February 2011, a call-in form supported by six Elected Members, not all from the same political group, was received by the Proper Officer as required by the Constitution relating to this issue. The six Members were as follows: - Councillor Kevin Rodgers (Labour) Councillor Bill Mordue (Labour) Councillor Susan Bolton (Labour) Councillor Andrew Bosmans (Labour) Councillor Deborah Hutchinson (Alliance of Independent Members) Councillor David Nevett (Labour)6. The receipt of this form triggers the call-in of this decision.Reasons for Call-In7. The call-in form as attached in Appendix 1 signed by the above six Members states the main reasons for call-in, taken from the call-in form are as follows: - “The decision was made without sufficient regard to measures of deprivation, community capacity, and there are concerns over the consultation process. In terms of deprivation the Borough Strategy is clear: THEME2: Developing stronger communities Raising standards of living: Concentrating our effort and resources where standards of living and life chances need to rise the most (excerpt from Doncaster Borough Strategy 2010-15 approved by Full Council 29th November 2010). It would seem to us that the policy framework has not been followed. The methodology used in the initial report which used the presence of an Opportunity Centre (OC) in a community as a marker of deprivation which belies the fact that some deprived communities are without an OC. A more comprehensive view of deprivation (economic and educational) was requested from the Executive but it was not forthcoming. The policy therefore does not have an adequate focus on deprivation in the communities and risks removing core libraries from those communities who can least afford it. Community Capacity No comprehensive assessment of community capacity to run library services on a voluntary basis has taken place. The policy has not taken into account whether the institutions exist to take over the services as the Council withdraws it supports. A basic assessment as to whether an area has a parish council, a local development trust, or organisations such as New Deal for Communities does not seem to have been compiled. This has been raised with the Executive but the reply was that community ‘appetite’ could not be measured within the current strategy. We would
  3. 3. argue that a basic assessment of what community structures are available would at least give an indication of community capacity. The great fear I (we) have is that the policy essentially puts the cart before the horse – without any assessment of the community’s ability to run a library we could be creating a policy that is designed to fail.” Consultation Doubts have been raised over the consultation process by UNISON that the sample was unrepresentative and that the conclusions drawn by the author of the report are contrary to the data collected (see report from UNISON).” – Annex 1 to Appendix 1.Issues for Consideration8. Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 9 a) states that call-in is an exceptional step to be taken only when Members with the powers to call-in decisions consider it to be a proportionate step which will be of benefit to the delivery of services under the Budget and Policy Framework or will improve the decision making process.9. The Committee may wish to consider the extent to which those Members calling-in the decision have taken account of any information or advice they may have been given in relation to these decisions.10. Other issues for the Committee to consider are: i. The reasons for call-in should relate specifically to the decision taken. ii Only those issues detailed as the reasons for call-in which are stated on the call-in form (and detailed at paragraph 7 above) and are relevant to the decision should be considered.Agreeing an Outcome11. Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 9 k) sets out four specific courses of action, which OSMC may take when considering a called-in decision. The Committee may: - (i) Refer the decision back to the Executive for reconsideration in the light of the recommendations from the Committee. This would require identifying any areas within the process or in respect of the decision, which could be improved, or submitting recommendations for alternative courses of action. (ii) Request that the decision(s) be deferred until Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee or Panels have considered relevant issues and made recommendations to the Executive. OSMC may consider that the decision could be improved by further investigation of relevant issues to be conducted by the Committee or by the
  4. 4. appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Panel. The Committee may wish to take account of any timescales that are crucial to the decision. (iii) Take no action in relation to the called-in decision(s) but consider whether issues arising from the call-in need to be added to the work programme of an existing or new Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee. OSMC may consider that the call-in of this decision has identified issues which should be considered as part of its or one of the Overview and Scrutiny Panels’ Work Plans. Consideration will need to be given to the potential impact this may have on OSMC or the relevant Panel in terms of delivering its agreed work plan. This may require a reprioritisation of issues in order to achieve this. (iv) If, but only if (having taken the advice of the Monitoring Officer and/or the Chief Finance Officer), the Committee determine that the decision is wholly or partly outside the Budget and Policy Framework refer the matter, with any recommendations, to the Council after following the procedure in Rule 8 of the Budget and Policy Framework Procedure Rules. Only in this case is there a continuing bar on implementing the decision.OPTIONS CONSIDERED12. The completion of the appropriate form by at least five elected Members (not all from the same political group) means that OSMC must meet to consider the called- in decision.REASONS FOR RECOMMENDED OPTIONS13. The recommended courses of action available to OSMC are detailed within the Council’s Constitution Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 9 k (i) – (iv), these are detailed at paragraphs 3 and 11 of this report.IMPACT ON THE COUNCIL’S KEY OBJECTIVES14. The call-in mechanism allows decisions to be reconsidered before they are implemented and to give an opportunity for Members to represent the views of their constituents and encourage an open, transparent and participative decision-making process. This process supports and contributes to robust governance arrangements.RISK AND ASSUMPTIONS15. There are no specific risks associated with this report. Specific risks relating to the called in decision are identified within paragraph 8 of the report attached at Appendix 3.LEGAL IMPLICATIONS16. The Legal implications associated with the decision are detailed within paragraph 11 of the report attached at Appendix 3. The Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule
  5. 5. 9 within the Council’s Constitution details the necessary steps involved in the Call In process.FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS17. There are no specific financial implications associated with this report. Financial implications associated with the Executive decision are contained within paragraph 12 of the report attached at Appendix 3.CONSULTATION18. In accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny Call-In Protocol, Councillor Kevin Rodgers, Lead Member triggering the Call-in) has raised his concerns with the relevant Officers and Councillor Cynthia Ransome, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries.CONCLUSIONS19. OSMC is asked to consider the called-in decision identified within this report.REPORT AUTHOR AND CONTRIBUTORSAndrew Sercombe, Scrutiny Manager, Tel 01302 734354Andrew.sercombe@doncaster.gov.ukCaroline Martin, Scrutiny Consultant, Tel: 01302 734941Caroline.Martin@doncaster.gov.ukBACKGROUND PAPERSDoncaster Metropolitan Borough Council’s Constitution Simon Wiles Director of Finance & Corporate Services

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