Membership and Terms of Reference of the Forum
It was reported that in accordance with the views expressed at the previous meeting regarding the future development of the Forum the Terms of Reference had been amended in order to enable public participation at meetings on the basis set out in the proposed protocol on public speaking.
Concern was expressed regarding the statement in the Protocol that speeches by the public would not be expected to be the subject of debate or that questions raised would be answered was queried. The proposal that speaking would only be permitted in relation to each item on an agenda, for up to 3 minutes per person and be managed by the Chair was noted. The Chair assured members of the Forum that it was her intention to use her discretion and, where appropriate, invite members of the Forum or Officers present to respond to any issues that were raised or alternatively ask for a response to be provided outside of the meeting.
It was also noted that the Forum had no delegated decision making powers and would continue to make recommendations to the appropriate Cabinet Member at the County Council or Borough Council.
1. That the current membership of the Forum is as follows.
Lancashire County Council
County Councillor A Barnes
County Councillor A Cheetham
County Councillor J Oakes
County Councillor S Serridge
County Councillor D Stansfield
Rossendale Borough Council
Councillor C Crawforth
Councillor C Lamb
Councillor G Sandiford
Councillor D Smith
Councillor R Wilkinson
Parish and Town Councils representative - Councillor D Barnes (Whitworth Town Council).
2. That public speaking at the Rossendale Three Tier Forum is permitted on the following basis – on each agenda item, for up to 3 minutes per person, to be managed by the Chair at their discretion and in accordance with the 'Protocol on Public Speaking' a copy of which is attached as an Annex to this Note.
3. That the decision set out at 2 above be incorporated into the Terms of Reference for the Rossendale Three Tier Forum as set out below.
a) The Forum is a joint business meeting of County, District, and Town and Parish Councillors, open to the public.
b) The membership of the Forum will be all local County Councillors with an Electoral Division within the District and an equal number of District Councillors appointed by the District Council, and one Parish/Town Council representative nominated from the Parish Councils within the District area. District Councils and the Parish/Town Councils can nominate deputies or replacements in accordance with their own procedures. The officer(s) supporting the meeting must be notified of any changes prior to a meeting. Political balance rules do not apply to the Three Tier Forum, although districts may follow these for their nominations.
c) The Forum will discuss issues that are of joint interest across the three levels of local government in the area. Agenda items will focus on strategic issues relating to all local councils in the area.
d) Any member of the Forum can request that an item is considered at a future meeting of the Forum. The Chair is responsible for agreeing the agenda and deciding whether an issue raised by a member will appear on an agenda. Where issues are raised that do not fall within the remit of the Forum these will be dealt with via the appropriate mechanism.
e) Public speaking is permitted on the following basis - on each agenda item up to 3 minutes per person at the discretion of the Chair.
f) The Chair is responsible for managing the debate at the meeting. The Chair's ruling on any aspect of a member of the Forums right to speak will be final. Members who persistently ignore the ruling of the Chair may after being warned, be asked to leave the room for the duration of the meeting.
g) Decisions of the Forum should be by consensus wherever possible. In the event that a consensus cannot be reached, decisions are by simple 'show of hands' majority with the Chair having a casting vote.
h) The Forum is not a formal committee of County, District or Parish Councils, therefore Access to Information provisions do not apply. However, as they are public meetings, agendas and minutes will be available on the County Council's website and by request can be obtained in person at County Hall, Preston.
i) The Chair and Deputy will be elected at the Annual Meeting from amongst the membership of the Forum. Should a vacancy arise during the year, a new Chair or Deputy will be elected. A Chair or Deputy may be removed from their position by a vote of the Forum.
j) The Forum will meet 3 times a year, one of which will be the Annual Meeting. The Forum does not have the authority to establish sub groups or working groups. From April 2014, the Annual Meeting will be the first meeting of the Forum after the County Council's AGM.
k) Urgent business is allowed, with the consent of the Chair. Any member wishing to raise a matter of urgent business should advise the Chair via the officer support for the Forum as soon as possible.
l) The "Protocol on Public Speaking at Three Tier Forums" applies.