Published: Thursday, January 12, 2017
Changes made to the City Deal’s public question process have come into force giving members of the public improved access to decision-making.
The new system, recently agreed by local councillors, will see papers published further in advance and early access online to all questions going to a meeting.
Meetings of the City Deal’s Joint Assembly and Executive Board are held in public and anyone can submit a question in advance to raise as part of the proceedings.
As a result of the changes, questions must now be submitted three working days ahead of the meeting and papers will be now published five working days before that.
It means any questions for the Joint Assembly’s meeting next Thursday must be submitted by 10am tomorrow, Friday January 13.
City Deal Programme Director Tanya Sheridan said “These changes are very important and come in response to frustration all round that the system originally agreed was no longer working as well as it should. As a result, we have been happy to address a number of specific concerns raised by community representatives.
“Provision for members of the public to access, challenge and influence decision-makers on matters of real significance affecting them and their community is a fundamental part of the democratic process. Increasing interest and scrutiny in the City Deal programme has been reflected in the volume and complexity of public questions we now regularly receive.
“We hope the changes to standing orders, management of questions and answers during meetings, along with a voluntary protocol for publication, will offer even greater access and transparency, as well as ensure the efficient conduct of business.”
• Public questions must now be submitted by 10am three working days before the meeting and each question should be limited to 300 words (this does not impact on any statements submitted for consideration and is subject to Chair discretion). This offers a longer period for quality research and reduces the likelihood of a response not being available in time for the meeting.
• Joint Assembly and Executive Board papers will be now be published five working days ahead of the questions deadline.
• Submitted questions will be published ahead of the meeting.
• Meeting chairs will clearly outline the Q&A format at the start of the meeting and use discretion to ensure public questions are asked and answered in accordance with efficient meeting conduct.
• Responses to public questions asked at meetings will continue to be published within the minutes of those meetings.
• Where a written response is agreed at the meeting, these will also be published in due course and after contact with
The next meeting of the Executive Board will be held on Wednesday 25 January and all advance questions must be submitted by 10am Friday 20 January.