Following emailing Dame Moira Gibb, the Independent Chair of the Governance Review Panel, seeking information on what was happening and sending her pieces I have written on the topic, I have received the following reply (28 March)
‘Thank you for your email concerning the review of governance arrangements in Croydon.
I have received a large number of similar emails regarding Council’s planning processes as well as specific planning decisions. Due to the number of emails I have received, and continue to receive, as yet I have not had the opportunity to read all of them but I will do so.
In the meantime I thought it might be helpful to clarify the focus, process and timetable for the review of which I am the Independent Chair.
The terms of reference for the governance review were agreed at the full Council meeting in October 2018 and require us to do the following;
- Hear the views of councillors and other stakeholders including, residents, community and voluntary groups, business, MPs and other participants in local democracy;
- Hear the views and seek advice from experts on participation in local democracy;
iii. Identify those aspects of the council’s governance that works well and identify opportunities to enhance councillor and other stakeholder participation in the local democratic processes;
- Benchmark good practice from areas with higher levels of participation
- Identify the cost and value for money implications of any recommendations that it makes.
We must then make recommendations to the Council.
The Panel which I chair is made up of nine elected members, five from the Labour group and four from the Conservative group with another independent person as a member.
We were asked in addition to the above to consider the possibility of a move to a form of the committee system or other constitutional changes which might assist the Council’s objectives.
Our timetable has been extended from the original May 2019 until December although we hope to have some recommendations or options for consideration in a progress report to the July council meeting.
The Panel is at the stage of evidence gathering at present and will be seeking the views of many groups in the borough as well as experts in the governance field and those with experience of other models of governance.
I have brought to the Panel’s attention the volume of correspondence received. What I should make clear though is that our terms of reference mean that much of the content of your complaints could not be considered by us e.g. how a particular planning application was heard or views on the national planning system. Governance issues such as Area Planning Committees on the other hand would be within our remit.
It is likely that different models including area based models will be discussed by the panel and your correspondence will be fed in to any such discussion in due course.
Again thank you for taking the time to write to me.’
In a covering email the Council’s Democratic Services section advises that due ‘to the number of emails received, the Chair has forwarded your email to the council officer supporting the Governance Review Panel, to log the correspondence and ensure all residents receive the Chair’s response.
Please be advised, your emails will not be shared with any other council departments and the correspondence received by the Chair will only be used to inform the Panel’s work and will be deleted following the conclusion of the review.
While the Chair may share your correspondence with the Panel as the work of the review progresses, any personal data within your email, for example your name, address etc. will be redacted before any sharing take place. The Council’s Privacy Notice which details your data privacy rights, can be found here.
If you do not wish for the information to be stored and used in this way please let us know immediately, and we will delete it.
If you wish to further correspond with the Panel or Dame Moira Gibb, please direct your queries to Democratic Services Democratic.Services@croydon.gov.uk quoting ‘Governance Review’ in the subject of your email.’
The Chair says:
‘The Panel is at the stage of evidence gathering at present and will be seeking the views of many groups in the borough as well as experts in the governance field and those with experience of other models of governance’
The timetable for seeking views is yet to be announced.