Community Governance Review Working Group Thursday 20 May 2021
Present: Councillors Shelim (Chairman), Cannon (Vice Chairman), Davies, Knowles and Hilton
Officers: Karen Shepherd (Head of Governance), Mark Pattison (Project Management Officer)
Apologies of absence
Suzanne Martin (Electoral & Information Governance Services Manager).
Councillor Shelim welcomed all to the meeting.
Summary of consultation responses received to date
Karen Shepherd provided an update on the consultation. There had so far been 313 responses – 292 on Engagement HQ, 17 emails and 4 letters. This is an encouraging level of response.
Councillor Cannon asked if the list has been redacted to reflect that some addresses are not from the affected areas. He was concerned that if responses from addresses outside the area were included, some of the data could be seen as misleading and stressed the importance of reliable data. It was confirmed that once the consultation closed, Members would be provided with all responses, but split to show those from within the relevant area and those outside.
Councillor Hilton requested that full page by page responses be shared with the Councillors (rather than all responses by question as currently provided). He also commented that many of the email responses seemed to misunderstand the reality of the potential Town Council splitting completely from RBWM and having more control than would actually happen.
Members discussed the clarity of the consultation documents and agreed it would not be appropriate to issue additional material at this stage, with only a few weeks before the end of the consultation.. Karen Shepherd advised that the Working Group Members will need to consider what weight should be given to feedback we get and that it could be an option to add a paragraph to the final recommendations with observations on any misunderstandings it was felt the respondents may have had.
Councillor Shelim commented that the recent Windsor Town Forum showed the importance of ensuring we can provide clear understanding of issues – he gave the example of clarifications around Street Lighting that had been raised. Councillor Davies commented that expectations may have been raised by the term Town Council rather than Parish Council as a possible reason for misunderstandings.
There was some discussion around legal confirmation of the level of responses needed to meet a requirement to make changes. Karen Shepherd said it had been advised previously that there is no minimum level of response required and that the Working Group members will need to weight the responses. There are circa 20,000 eligible electors in the affected area.
Councillor Hilton requested a Heat Map to show where the respondents are coming from. Karen Shepherd advised that Engagement HQ is a good analytical tool that we are still learning about in terms of analytic functionality but that we will look into providing further analysis and reporting when the consultation closes. Karen will discuss with Suzanne and the GIS team.
Councillor Cannon accepted that we should not put out any new information but suggested it was important to ramp up our communication to encourage engagement. Karen Shepherd advised that there is an increase in messaging through social media, residents newsletters and the weekly Member briefing. There are no plans to take out a second advert in the press in light of the cost but Councillor Cannon advised that he will write a letter to the paper as a Working Group representative that would hopefully carry some weight and be published. It was also mentioned that for a percentage of residents who do not typically get information online the importance of newspapers and leaflets is significant. The main message is that we want responses and should not aim to influence the nature of them.
Windsor Town Forum
Karen Shepherd raised the point about questions from a resident at the recent Windsor Town Forum. All the questions have been replied to and there has not yet been any follow-up from the resident. In the event the issue is raised at next week’s Windsor Town Forum it was advised that the reply should be brief and state the answers have been provided. Also Windsor Town Council is not an item on the agenda, therefore the issue would only be raised under matters arising from the last set of minutes, so any debate should point out we are still in the middle of the consultation and further information would be provided in the final recommendations to full Council in July.
The consultation ends on Wednesday 2 June.
Karen Shepherd advised that the raw data will be sent on to the Councillors plus we will look into providing some further analysis.
Next meeting of the Councillors was agreed to move to Wednesday 9 June at 1500. There are also two further sessions in the diaries for Thursday 24 June and Thursday 8 July. Councillor Shelim suggested the final meeting should be face to face if possible – preferably in York House in Windsor. Karen Shepherd said she would look into booking a room.
The Officer Project Group are currently working on the complex task of identifying all services that could be transferred. Their next meeting is Monday 14 June. It was noted that responses to the consultation had suggested a number of services to be transferred, but that not all of these would be legally possible to transfer e.g. Planning. However the final recommendations could refer to these suggestions and for example set out how a Town Council could have input to the planning process as any Parish Council does. It was noted the detail on Services is not part of the consultation per se but a paragraph would go into the Final Recommendations with more detail after the Officer Project Group have completed their work.
Any other business
Councillor Cannon stressed that a recent leaflet from the Windsor Conservative Association on the Windsor Town Council proposal was not linked to the administration or any member of the working group. It was noted that the CGR Working Group does not control this or any other pressure group. Councillor Knowles agreed that this leaflet has not compromised the work of the group.
Date of next meeting
The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday 9 June 2021.
The meeting, which began at 4pm, finished at 5.15pm.