Further to previous discussion regarding quorum issues, the Library Services Manager presented a report, the purpose of which was to provide members with a period of consultation on the proposed Service Level Agreement (SLA) document, before a final proposal would be presented at the 26 July 2012 meeting of the Committee.
Following discussion at previous meetings of the Committee, it was agreed that the SLA for the Joint Archives Committee would be reviewed. A draft revised SLA was attached at Appendix 1 of the submitted report. It was explained that in order to ensure that any amendments could be incorporated into the draft document prior to submission of the final proposals at the next Committee meeting, the consultation period would end on 31 May 2012.
In response to a query regarding the title of the service, it was clarified that irrespective of any changes made to the SLA, the service would continue to be known as The Teesside Archives Service.
The Senior Governance Officer informed the Committee that any changes made to the SLA would need to be reflected in the Committees Terms of Reference. Copies of the current Terms of Reference were tabled for Members perusal.
With regard to option appraisal, a number of suggestions were outlined to the Committee in terms of identifying potential ways forward. These included: increasing the number of named substitutes for each authority to up to three; allowing for any three Members of the Committee to form a quorum; and decreasing the number of meetings from four to one - the Committee would meet once per year in February in order to agree the budget. There would, however, be provision for meetings to be called at other times, if required. It was felt that a March meeting, as previously suggested, would be too late in terms of incorporating budget-related decisions into each Councils financial cycle; Members acknowledged this point.
It was highlighted that in accordance with the Committees current Terms of Reference, the Joint Committee had full power to make further rules regarding its proceedings and the conduct of its business, and to vary such rules, provided that meetings where decisions were being made were quorate, i.e. four Members or their substitutes were in attendance, and that at least three members voted in favour of the resolution. Emphasis was placed on the 26 July 2012 meeting being quorate in order to ensure that a decision regarding the final proposals could be made.
A discussion ensued with regard to the proposals. It was indicated that it would perhaps be more workable to reduce the number of meetings down to one and the quorum figure to three.
It was suggested that the impact of portfolio changes and the current circumstances facing partnering authorities could have been responsible for non-attendance, and that once these issues had been resolved, quorum could perhaps be achieved. Reference was made to previous attendance figures and the number of meetings that had been inquorate over the past few years. It was felt that despite these issues, the Archives Service had continued to operate well, though difficulties had been experienced by the deferral of some significant decisions.
A query was made in relation to substitution and Non-Executive/Cabinet Members. It was explained that because the Committee was an Executive Committee with delegated powers to make decisions on behalf of each partnering authoritys Executive/Cabinet, any named substitute must have been an Executive/Cabinet Member.
Regarding the suggestion that one meeting be held per year, in February, in order to agree the budget, Members recommended this, with the proviso that other meetings could be scheduled, as appropriate, and that stipulation be made that a representative of each partnering authority must be available to attend the meeting.
Regarding the suggestions to increase the number of named substitutes and reduce the quorum number to three, Members recommended these.
In light of the recommendations made, amendments would be made to the Committees Terms of Reference and the final proposed SLA, which would be forwarded to the 26 July 2012 meeting for ratification. Any further comments received during the consultation process would also be implemented into the final proposals.
(i) That changes to the Committees Terms of Reference and proposed draft SLA be incorporated into the final proposals and forwarded to the 26 July 2012 meeting of the Committee for ratification.
(ii) That further comments regarding the proposed draft SLA be forwarded to the Library Services Manager by 31 May 2012.
(iii) That the information, as provided, be noted.
The recommendation was supported by the following reason:
To progress development of a revised SLA for the Joint Archives Committee.