Council changes its decision-making process

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Argyll and Bute Council has agreed major changes to its decision-making processes as part of its response to COVID-19.

Council leader Councillor Aileen Morton explained: ‘Our committee system works well when we can plan ahead and deliver meetings focusing on different areas of the council’s work.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic, however, is changing quickly. Our decision-making process has to be flexible enough to deliver decisions rapidly so we are doing all we can to protect our employees and communities.

‘At the same time, we have to continue with the normal business of the council as we deliver a wide range of services for young and old, businesses and communities. We have to find ways to maintain vital services using as few resources as possible considering the enormous scale of work we are doing to respond to COVID-19.

‘The changes agreed today [Tuesday March 31] make it easier to take urgent decisions when needed and to continue progressing the longer term business of the council.’

A special meeting of the full council agreed to set up a Business Continuity Committee (BCC) to temporarily replace and do the work of its numerous scheduled committees.

Nine councillors, from the area’s 36 elected members, will sit on the BCC to deal with normal business that would usually be managed by the full council or another committee.

Members of the BCC are: Aileen Morton, chairwoman; Gary Mulvaney, vice chairman; Kieron Green; Yvonne McNeilly; Robin Currie; Rory Colville; Sandy Taylor; Dougie Philand and Lorna Douglas.

The BCC will function as other committees, with published agendas, reports and minutes.

Councillors also noted the chief executive has the authority through the council’s constitution to make urgent decisions that would normally go to a committee for consideration, if required. During this period of responding to COVID-19, councillors agreed to widen the consultation the chief executive is required to make for these decisions to include the leader, depute leader and leader of the opposition where available.