The Chairman read out a statement regarding the Action Notes of the meeting held on 23 June 2020.
“The notes brought to Committee are in a draft format, until confirmed by the Committee as a true record of the meeting. Should any Councillor have issue with the accuracy of the notes from the previous meeting, they should present their alternative wording, and be as specific as possible on which part is incorrect, and what the record should state instead.
A Councillor may propose amendments to the notes of the previous meetings, but those suggested amendments will be voted on by the Committee – if there is not agreement, then the amendment will not be made as requested.
With that in mind, I move on to the two sets of action notes to be agreed. The Head of Governance has conducted a review of the notes and recordings from this Committee, to address accuracy concerns from Councillors, and so that we can hopefully get the issue resolved today. I’d like to thank her for her help with this. The findings from this investigation are as follows:
The first issue regarding the accuracy of the previous notes has arisen as a result of some confusion over names and definitions. The action notes from 26 November 2019 capture an action point to consult with EnvironmentSK and report back to the committee with examples and indicative costs for introducing managed wildflower diversity areas in the district, to begin with one area in each town. This wording has morphed and in future meetings, the managed wildflower biodiversity areas have become intertwined with re-wilding.
The reference to one area per town which is included in the recommendation made in February 2020 is consistent with the recommendation made in November 2019. From listening to the recordings of later meetings and reviewing the papers for Feb, I can understand, based on the wording of the recommendation that it was not made clear to committee members that only 4 schemes would be consulted on. Recognising the context that there would be one rewilding scheme per town would not preclude running consultation on all proposed sites and then the most appropriate site from each town being picked. If that was the intention, the learning is to make sure Members are clear in their understanding of what they’re voting on and officers are clear in setting out a specific proposals. This could have been made clearer in this instance, and Members would have known what they were agreeing to (or not) and could have helped inform which proposal was taken forward, or lobbied for both, with a view to making a future recommendation about the best scheme.
The confusion over what was agreed was unfortunate, but not malicious or borne of conspiracy, it was simply a different interpretation of what was being agreed to by the Officers and some Councillors.”
Members of the Committee thanked the Chairman and the Head of Governance for their time in reviewing the concerns that were raised.
A member provided an overview of their recollection of events, that had led to the concerns raised over the accuracy of the notes.
Members gave consideration to the notes of the meeting held on 23 June 2020.
A member proposed if note 47. of that meeting, could be reconsidered and amended as follows:
· Removal of the references to one re-wilding site per town.
They explained that it had not been agreed by the Committee.
The Chairman seconded the proposition to amend the action notes, as per the members comments. After a vote was taken, members agreed that the notes of the meeting held on 23 June 2020, be agreed subject to those amendments.
To amend the action notes for the meeting held on 23 June 2020, be approved, subject to the following amendment:
· Note 47., removal of references to ‘one re-wilding site per town’.