To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Honorary Alderman David Nation raised questions with regard to Items 11 (Reports) and 15 (Governance Working Group update) on the agenda stating that: You have before you this evening, minutes of the Scrutiny Committee, where they asked the Chairman of the Governance Working Group for an update on their work. I hope that you have seen the written replies since provided by Cllr Moore for which I thank him to the questions that I put at that meeting. To say that I am unimpressed by the replies would be an understatement but there is clearly no point in repeating those questions.
I am surprised that the Scrutiny Committee did not formally object that all 6 meetings of the Working Group had been held in secret with even some councillors being barred from them. I see that tonight you have another brief update from the Working Group Chair and I will go straight to the point with my question:
Will the Chair of the Governance Working Group confirm whether the option preferred by the Working Group to date would enable the full council to overturn a decision of the Cabinet if they did not agree with it? I know there are other concerns with people about your present system of governance but this is my primary concern.
If the Working Group and Council cannot devise a way of addressing it I know there will be thousands of residents in Mid Devon who will not be satisfied with the outcome.
Councillor Moore advised he would take the question at the relevant point in the agenda.
Mr Gerald Conyngham referring to Motion 564 stated that he lived in Crediton and last year I asked a question about welcoming more Syrian refugees to Mid Devon and the council responded favourably and agreed to take more when the programme restarted, showing their commitment to inclusivity as far as refugees are concerned.
Today I am here in relation to Motion 564 about equality, diversity and inclusivity across all sections of the community in Mid Devon (especially those who are less involved). I welcome this motion as do many of my fellow residents in Crediton. By passing it, the Council will be making a public statement to show its commitment to engaging with these values. A lot of good work is already going on. This needs to be built on and developed since there are many areas where these values are not being fully implemented. This is not just about issues of structure and governance but about underlying attitudes:- the way we respect and listen to each other, and being prepared to learn from each other, even those of a different political persuasion.
In the work I have been involved in as part of Crediton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, I have learned that people want a different form of politics in which, whatever their background, their views are given due consideration and respect. This is especially important as we seek to involve people in the run up to 2030 when the Council is committed to being carbon neutral.
Will the council pass this motion to show their commitment to these principles and to taking the appropriate action?
The Chairman indicated that a written response would be provided.