Helston Town Council meeting... to discuss whether they have too many meetings

Falmouth Packet: Helston Town Council meeting... to discuss whether they have to many meetings Helston Town Council meeting... to discuss whether they have to many meetings

You couldn't make it up. Helston Town Council is to hold a special meeting - to talk about holding less meetings.

This rather humorous decision (which even prompted a few chuckles from members when they realised the irony) is the result of member Martine Knight asking for a discussion on whether the current way of holding committee meetings was “fit for purpose.”

She described the present system as “a monster that has outgrown its efficiency”, pointing that the calendar for the forthcoming civic year had 74 meetings scheduled over 61 dates.

Mrs Knight suggested doing away with the committees and going back to holding just full council meetings, which she believed would remove delays and “public criticism of 'cliqueiness'”, plus staff would have to work less evenings.

She had the support of councillor Ronnie Williams, who said: “That's the finest thing that has been said in this council chamber for quite a few years.”

Clerk Chris Dawson agreed that there were too many meetings, but believed it would be “too simplistic” to return to just full council meetings - giving planning as an example that had “evolved greatly.”

He suggested an option would be delegate some of the decisions to council officers, which would be audited by members.

But Mrs Knight said: “I don't think I would be minded to support officer delegation. We are elected to this to town to take decisions and, no disrespect to our staff, they are not.”

Mayor Jonathan Radford-Gaby said that the town was set to take on even more responsibility from Cornwall Council and as such would need a committee structure, although he also agreed “far too many meetings” were held.

However, deputy mayor Mike Thomas disagreed and said: “I feel we get it just right.”

Mrs Knight's proposal to revert back to all decisions being dealt with at full council found only the support of Mr Williams, with the remainder voting against.

Instead a separate meeting will be held on April 15 to talk in more detail.

Comments (9)

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9:09pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Gillian R.Z. Martin says...

Combining a full council meeting agenda with all the separate committee agendas would inevitably extend a full council meeting to a length of time which could not be allowed.
I think they should just hold the full council meetings every six weeks as opposed to four.
Combining a full council meeting agenda with all the separate committee agendas would inevitably extend a full council meeting to a length of time which could not be allowed. I think they should just hold the full council meetings every six weeks as opposed to four. Gillian R.Z. Martin
  • Score: 3

5:40am Thu 27 Mar 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

Discussing planning applications takes ages, how could they do all that a normal full council meeting.
It amazes me how some people that have only recently joined the council at the last election complain about the amount of meetings. Why be a Cllr if its a problem, they must have known how many meetings there were when they stood for council.
Falmouth have a full council meeting every six weeks.
If they want to save time at a meeting cut out all the daft suggestions like speaking Cornish and political correctness and worry about the important things.
One thing if they do away with separate committees they could all take the blame for mistakes like the benches instead of pin pointing the blame on a particular committee that made the decision and those committee members, that could certainly be an incentive for Cllr Knight to suggest doing away with committees.
Discussing planning applications takes ages, how could they do all that a normal full council meeting. It amazes me how some people that have only recently joined the council at the last election complain about the amount of meetings. Why be a Cllr if its a problem, they must have known how many meetings there were when they stood for council. Falmouth have a full council meeting every six weeks. If they want to save time at a meeting cut out all the daft suggestions like speaking Cornish and political correctness and worry about the important things. One thing if they do away with separate committees they could all take the blame for mistakes like the benches instead of pin pointing the blame on a particular committee that made the decision and those committee members, that could certainly be an incentive for Cllr Knight to suggest doing away with committees. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 7

7:48am Thu 27 Mar 14

Rainbow over Helston says...

Cllr Knight said the staff were not elected to make decisions but the Cllrs were, not everyone chose her though to be elected, and the council is supposed to represent the whole town so how do they know if some people would prefer the staff rather than some Cllrs to make some of the descions?
Cllr Knight said the staff were not elected to make decisions but the Cllrs were, not everyone chose her though to be elected, and the council is supposed to represent the whole town so how do they know if some people would prefer the staff rather than some Cllrs to make some of the descions? Rainbow over Helston
  • Score: 6

11:33am Thu 27 Mar 14

telstar1962 says...

Being a very forward looking Council, with some members with the right contacts, could they perhaps try Skype or Video Conferencing for certain aspects of the work

Second thoughts, that's just too 21st Century !
Being a very forward looking Council, with some members with the right contacts, could they perhaps try Skype or Video Conferencing for certain aspects of the work Second thoughts, that's just too 21st Century ! telstar1962
  • Score: -4

1:14pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

What would be the point in that, none of them live any distance to travel, it would still mean time involved. Rather an irrelevant comment I think to say telstar, "some members with the right contacts" without enlarging on what you mean.
What would be the point in that, none of them live any distance to travel, it would still mean time involved. Rather an irrelevant comment I think to say telstar, "some members with the right contacts" without enlarging on what you mean. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe says...

There's something quite surreal about the world of Helston Town Council, or at least as seen through the the lens of this website, that would make a great subject for a mock reality TV show along the lines of "The Office" and more recently and aptly "Parks and Recreation", a current favourite of mine. The makers would never run short of good material, that's for sure.
There's something quite surreal about the world of Helston Town Council, or at least as seen through the the lens of this website, that would make a great subject for a mock reality TV show along the lines of "The Office" and more recently and aptly "Parks and Recreation", a current favourite of mine. The makers would never run short of good material, that's for sure. Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe
  • Score: 2

7:20pm Thu 27 Mar 14

telstar1962 says...

I have been reliably informed that some Councillors have very good contacts in the hi-tech world of web-sites, telecommunications etc. That makes me think that with some basic training, up-to-date technology could possibly be used on some occasions as a means of communicating with each other.

Over the last 20 years or so, text messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, Skype, webinar, etc have all become very popular with the general public, so why, when it is relevant, cannot Councillors use this so as to reduce meetings, or time spent at Council meetings, sometimes later at night, which I can see at times would be considered anti-social times for some prospective members
I have been reliably informed that some Councillors have very good contacts in the hi-tech world of web-sites, telecommunications etc. That makes me think that with some basic training, up-to-date technology could possibly be used on some occasions as a means of communicating with each other. Over the last 20 years or so, text messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, Skype, webinar, etc have all become very popular with the general public, so why, when it is relevant, cannot Councillors use this so as to reduce meetings, or time spent at Council meetings, sometimes later at night, which I can see at times would be considered anti-social times for some prospective members telstar1962
  • Score: 1

7:30am Fri 28 Mar 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

telstar1962 wrote:
I have been reliably informed that some Councillors have very good contacts in the hi-tech world of web-sites, telecommunications etc. That makes me think that with some basic training, up-to-date technology could possibly be used on some occasions as a means of communicating with each other.

Over the last 20 years or so, text messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, Skype, webinar, etc have all become very popular with the general public, so why, when it is relevant, cannot Councillors use this so as to reduce meetings, or time spent at Council meetings, sometimes later at night, which I can see at times would be considered anti-social times for some prospective members
Spoken like a true Cllr lol.

If they can't attend a few meetings then why be a Cllr, lots of jobs involve on site meetings. The meetings have to open to the press and public, you would be eliminating all those members of the public that do not have Internet access, like some older people. Cornwall Council webcast their meetings but are still open to the press and public on site. Who would finance all the equipment for those Cllrs that don't have it, and don't suppose those able, particularly want to train up those unable, free of charge. They do have their own jobs.
[quote][p][bold]telstar1962[/bold] wrote: I have been reliably informed that some Councillors have very good contacts in the hi-tech world of web-sites, telecommunications etc. That makes me think that with some basic training, up-to-date technology could possibly be used on some occasions as a means of communicating with each other. Over the last 20 years or so, text messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, Skype, webinar, etc have all become very popular with the general public, so why, when it is relevant, cannot Councillors use this so as to reduce meetings, or time spent at Council meetings, sometimes later at night, which I can see at times would be considered anti-social times for some prospective members[/p][/quote]Spoken like a true Cllr lol. If they can't attend a few meetings then why be a Cllr, lots of jobs involve on site meetings. The meetings have to open to the press and public, you would be eliminating all those members of the public that do not have Internet access, like some older people. Cornwall Council webcast their meetings but are still open to the press and public on site. Who would finance all the equipment for those Cllrs that don't have it, and don't suppose those able, particularly want to train up those unable, free of charge. They do have their own jobs. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 2

8:10pm Fri 28 Mar 14

telstar1962 says...

That's a fair reply Hfotw.

But there may come the day when some modern technology will find its way into the Council Chamber.

Even the Houses of Parliament have recently cut back on the archaic practices of all-night-sittings, and have ensured that more sensible hours are spent there, in the hope it will encourage a wider range of prospective Members.
That's a fair reply Hfotw. But there may come the day when some modern technology will find its way into the Council Chamber. Even the Houses of Parliament have recently cut back on the archaic practices of all-night-sittings, and have ensured that more sensible hours are spent there, in the hope it will encourage a wider range of prospective Members. telstar1962
  • Score: 0

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