Present: Councillors Shelim (Chairman), Cannon (Vice Chairman), Davies and Story
Officers: Suzanne Martin (Electoral & Information Governance Services Manager), Karen Shepherd (Head of Governance) and Louisa Dean (Communications and Marketing Manager)
Councillor Shelim welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Knowles.
Declarations of Interest
At the previous meeting it had been formally recorded that Members had no interests to declare and all came to the review with an open mind. Cllr Davies, who had been absent at the previous meeting, confirmed that this was also the case for her.
Electoral Services’ actions since last meeting
Suzanne Martin gave an update to Members on what activity had been undertaken by Electoral Services to engage directly with consultees following the last meeting.
Just under 370 groups had been identified; of these contact details had been identified for 250. For the approximately 120 groups with no contact details, the councillors who had nominated the groups had been asked to forward on a standard email on behalf of electoral services.
Members noted a breakdown of the types of groups identified. Of the 370 groups identified:
- Armed forces – 2
- Retirement homes – 16
- Community groups/associations – 46
- Crown Estate – 2
- Education – 34
- Emergency services – 2
- Faith groups – 20
- Medical groups – 22
- Newspapers – 2
- Political groups – 3
- Private businesses - 194
- Pubs, cafes, restaurants – 25
- Direct contact had also been made with East Berks CCG.
As of Thursday 1 October 2020, 6 representations had been received (3 residents, 1 business, 1 parish council, 1 faith group). A reminder exercise would begin from 5 October reminding all previous contacts of the deadline. The faith group had confirmed they would be discussing the issue at a committee meeting and would be submitting a response.
It was anticipated that more representations would be submitted as the deadline approached. Reminders in the next week would be very important.
It was confirmed that the Windsor Town Council Steering Group had submitted a copy of a leaflet they had circulated in Windsor, but had not yet made a formal representation. The group had been reminded to submit by the deadline. Councillor Cannon reported that the group had a meeting that evening and therefore would likely submit afterwards.
It was confirmed that the Steering Group leaflet included a link to their own webpage, but that then directed people to the council consultation webpage. Councillor Davies commented she was aware of the leaflet but had not received one herself despite living in the catchment area. She was aware of the meeting but was not going to attend.
Councillor Cannon commented that Members needed to be clear that the group was an important consultee but did not necessarily represent everyone in the area.
Councillor Shelim commented that he had not yet had an opportunity to discuss a definitive list of businesses with Suzanne Martin. He was aware the Steering Group leaflets had been sent to the entire area; the council would not have enough time to produce a leaflet and get it to all businesses itself.
Suzanne Martin confirmed that she had spoken to Elaine Browne, Head of Law. Elaine was happy that the consultation was sufficient based on the different groups contacted. Suzanne Martin was yet to provide her with a list of businesses.
It was noted that an additional 30 groups had been identified via the WAMCF website; all had been contacted.
The Windsor Town Centre Manager had given contact details where he had permission and had been forwarding information onto his other contacts including the Chamber of Commerce. Suzanne Martin would ask him for an update. Councillor Cannon asked if the geographical spread of businesses was appropriate, including businesses outside of the main town centre. Suzanne Martin confirmed ward councillors from across the area had been asked to ensure businesses in all wards were identified.
Members agreed they were content with the consultation process so far.
The Chairman commented that he did not feel it was appropriate for any member of the Working Group should be joining the Steering Group meeting that evening. All Members present agreed.
Members noted that the request for an additional Windsor Town Forum meeting to discuss the CGR was being considered. Councillor Davies commented that she felt this was important as the Town Forum existed as there was no parish or town council. Karen Shepherd explained that the discussion would need to focus on the first phase of the consultation; it would not be able to cover detailed issues that would be dealt with in the second phase. It would also be important for the four members of the Working Group who also sat on the Town Forum not to engage in a debate that could lead to perceptions of bias. It would also not be appropriate for the Town Forum to debate or vote on a formal response to the consultation given the membership overlap. All other councillors on the Forum could submit a response individually anyway.
Suzanne Martin confirmed she had looked at the Berkshire Records Office online catalogue but this did not hold any information on previous boundaries so she had submitted a general enquiry. Councillor Cannon suggested the Windsor Historical society may be able to help.
Wider Communications actions since last meeting
Louisa Dean confirmed that a press release had been drafted. Officers had commented therefore the next step would be for councillors to comment before issue. Councillor Cannon had been quoted, as had been agreed at the previous meeting. The press release would be sent to all Working Group Members later that day for subsequent issue on Friday 2 October 2020. It would also be used as the basis for the residents’ newsletter and council social media channels. Members were asked to forward details on using their own social media channels. Councillor Davies confirmed she could send to a targeted Windsor audience. The Chairman agreed to ask Councillor Knowles to share in his area as well. On the back of the press release, Louisa Dean would also contact BBC Radio Berkshire to push for an interview with Councillor Cannon.
Agreed actions from the last meeting
All actions had been discussed above.
Date of next meeting
Members agreed that the next meeting should take place as soon as possible after the consultation ended on Monday 28 October Consultation. There was no reason to meet before unless an issue arose. Councillor Davies commented that Wednesdays were easier for her than Thursdays during term time due to work commitments.
The meeting which began at 3pm finished at 3.45pm.