In May 2017, Kirklees councillors took part in a special Democracy Debate to discuss the Kirklees Democracy Commission’s draft report about local democracy. At the end of that debate, councillors agreed to note and welcome the report and its findings.
We have since published our full report: Growing a stronger local democracy, from the ground up, and we’ve been talking about how to bring some of the ideas in that report to life.
Party leaders and Kirklees Council’s Chief Executive, Jacqui Gedman, have agreed that a number of our recommendations can be carried out by the Head of Democracy. We’ve already made progress with some of these ideas (such as our Question Time with party leaders) as part of our extended programme of events for Local Democracy Week 2017.
Our Chief Executive and party leaders have also agreed that, because of the significance of the Democracy Commission’s work, the rest of the Commission’s recommendations will either need some further strategic guidance, or will need to be led by councillors.
For these reasons we’ve agreed that, on balance, it’s right to bring those recommendations back to a Full Council meeting, so that Kirklees councillors can provide clarity and give a full mandate for our future work.
A brief report: Kirklees Democracy Commission – Recommendations and Next Steps is on the agenda for the Full Council meeting on Wednesday 15th November 2017, from 5.30pm at Huddersfield Town Hall. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and watch from the public gallery or from the Reception Room, or you can watch the live webcast and look out for updates via @kirkdemocracy on twitter.
More details about what councillors will make a decision on
27 of the Commission’s 48 recommendations will be considered at the meeting. To help with these deliberations, we’ve grouped these recommendations into a series of key outcomes:
A: Active citizens have a stake in the place they live and are able to inform and influence the future of their community and the decisions affecting it.
B: Young citizens are interested and have the opportunity to be engaged in local democracy.
C: Councillors have the confidence, skills, support and capacity to lead the changing relationship between the council and local citizens. They are placed at the heart of the Council.
D: The councillor role is clear, widely communicated and universally understood.
E: Councillors are accessible and confident in their role in a digitally networked society.
F: Decision making is built around the needs of the citizen; it is open, engaging, based on dialogue and has effective checks and balances; any arrangements should safeguard the health and reputation of the council.
G: Council meetings are open, accessible and engaging for citizens and councillors alike.
H: Democratic content is accessible, digestible and delivered in a way that considers the needs of the citizen and councillors alike.
I: Citizens and councillors understand how decisions are made and have an opportunity to be engaged throughout the process wherever possible.
J: Registering to vote should be easy, accessible and convenient especially for our young citizens.
K: Citizens are able to access accurate, timely, trustworthy and relevant information about elections and candidates standing.
L: Our approach to local devolution is from the ground up, based on local identity and the specific priorities of our towns, villages and communities.
M: Citizens and councillors understand the opportunities and implications of regional devolution.
At the meeting, Kirklees councillors will be asked to:
- Consider and agree (or amend) the outcomes and recommendations listed in the Appendix to the brief report, which will provide a mandate for our future work.
- Agree to the creation of a cross party working group (including councillors from the different political parties on Kirklees Council).
- Agree that the Head of Democracy has strategic responsibility for progressing the work.
If Kirklees Council will need to make any constitutional changes as part of this work, councillors will also have an opportunity to discuss those proposals at a future meeting.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please email us at: