Full Council Meetings
Making them relevant
Can a Full Council meeting ever be relevant to the people that live in Kingston? That is the challenge we face and we therefore need to make it not just functional and serving our own decision making purposes but also something to which resident's can bring their fears and worries, be listened to and then action taken. Some times we will not always do what resident's want but at least we listened and they feel they have been heard.
The Community Debate
We should allow groups in the community to come forward with suggestions for community motions that can actually change things. The debate would be proposed and opened by residents and Councillors will respond to the propositions put forward and decide, there and then, whether they wish to accept or refuse the motion. The motion will be from the community and the debate led by the community. This process will recognise that we do not have all the ideas and that we are partners with residents in delivering and shaping our services. Two areas where this procedure would not be possible are in matters relating to planning and licencing applications due to the legal technicalities of discussing such matters in an open forum if a planning application is being considered.
The debate would be stimulated by the use of the online petitions system, however, residents would need officer support in how to frame a motion for debate before having residents sign up to call for a motion to be debated. The website will provide that information. The current 500 signature threshold for petitions to Council would apply.
State of the Borough debate
We will restore the annual State of the Borough debate. However this time we will manage this in a much more proactive way, picking a single theme on which the debate should be based and allowing external speakers who have experience in the area being considered to come and participate. We could have motions arising from this which enact new Council policy.
Council meeting questions
Currently all questions are written questions and there is a sense that written questions may as well just have a written response. But we will change this.
At the beginning of each Council question time there would be the availability of 3 Questions to the Leader given orally and not in writing. No prior notification of the question will be required. These will be offered to each of the parties on the Council and where there was not a third opposition party the main opposition would have 2 questions. Following this the question time would proceed as normal with pre-submitted questions.
By doing this there is a real chance of genuine interest and live debate on questions of the day as well as real challenge to the administration of the council.
If this works well then we could look ta make further changes that move away from written questions to all oral questions.
Streaming Council Meetings
Our current audio system for streaming Council Meetings is unsatisfactory. It is quite difficult for the public to find the spot in the meeting they wish to hear and as an audio recording it does not really show the reality of the meeting.
We are therefore exploring streaming of meetings, whether that is live or is recorded is yet to be decided.
Reports from Committees
We are restoring Reports from Committees where Committee and Neighbourhood Chairs will present a report on the decisions of their committees at their previous cycle of meetings. This is a written report on the key issues covered at those meetings. Councillors will have the ability to ask questions on specific items. Where relevant, Committee Chairs may wish to bring decisions to Full Council for ratification but that decision is one that would lie outside the ability of all Councillors to bring refer items to Full Council through the requisition process.