To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2022/23 municipal year.
The Scrutiny Board considered the Work Programme.
In 2021/22 the Scrutiny Board requested that a statement be drafted summarising its conclusions in relation to an approach of zero-tolerance to racism and that this should then be provided to the Executive Board member for her consideration.
It was noted that representatives of the BAME staff network had been consulted on the proposed wording, as had relevant officers.
Concern was raised about how aspects of the statement reflect the way in which the disciplinary and grievance processes interact. Further clarification was sought about how matters potentially linked to multiple protected characteristics will be appropriately identified, and how the Council will ensure historic issues of concern will be captured in any process.
It was suggested informal routes prior to grievance should be more clearly highlighted in the statement. Specifically, it was suggested reference should be made to the importance of engaging in the ACAS early conciliation approach.
The potential role of the new Freedom to Speak Up Guardian was highlighted. Members suggested further information should be provided at a future meeting about how that role will work in practice.
Concern was raised more generally about the use of the term ‘BAME’ given Government guidance suggesting the term risks homogenising a diverse group of people. However, it was reiterated that it is for the staff network to determine how they wish the Board to refer to them.
It was noted the statement is not – nor intended to become - a policy document. It is a summary of the discussions of the 2021/22 Scrutiny Board, which the previous board had recommended be provided as a form of advice to the Executive member.
It was agreed that Cllrs Firth and Burke can provide any proposed amendments to the Principal Scrutiny Advisor for further consideration.
The Chair reiterated the need to provide advice in a timely way to decision makers given previous discussions at the Board.
Items for Further Consideration
It was suggested that the Scrutiny Board should schedule a debate about how the Council consults and communicates with the public. This should include how the organisation identifies which format to adopt for different consultations, how consultations are co-ordinated with partners such as WYCA and levels of engagement generated by different consultation formats.
Members welcomed the fact that Leeds2023 would be subject to further consideration by the Board. It was requested that the future item consider the job opportunities that might arise from Leeds 2023 and how the Council can ensure people from Leeds are able to access any opportunities in line with the aspirations of the inclusive growth policy. Members were also keen to understand what is anticipated to be the legacy of Leeds2023 and how the Board might be able to assess whether that has been achieved.
The Board reiterated that members are keen to engage with the West Yorkshire Mayor to understand how the new regional role is operating after the first year of devolution.
It was noted that it is important to have representation throughout the meetings from Executive Members, given the required parity of esteem between Scrutiny and the Executive set out in the constitution.
The Principal Scrutiny Advisor was requested to update the work programme.
- That Cllrs Firth and Burke provide any proposed amendments to the zero-tolerance statement to the Principal Scrutiny Advisor with a view to finalising the document ahead of submission of the advice to the Executive Board member.
- That the work programme is updated to reflect the requests documented under all items included within the minutes of this meeting.