Agenda and draft minutes

Governance Committee - Tuesday, 17th November, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: virtually - Microsoft Teams Live. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@crawley.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Disclosures of Interest

In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.

 

Minutes:

No disclosures of interests were made.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 203 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Governance Committee held on 6 July 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Governance Committee held on 6 July 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

3.

Public Question Time

To consider any written questions that were submitted in advance and accepted in line with the Constitution.  These will be read to the Committee and be followed by a response. The questioner will receive an emailed copy of the response given at the meeting. There will be no supplementary questions.

Minutes:

No written questions had been submitted by members of the public.

4.

Polling Arrangements May 2021 pdf icon PDF 526 KB

To consider report CEX/52 of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered report CEX/52 of the Chief Executive which proposed a new polling district LAC in Bewbush and North Broadfield Ward to cater for the boundary of the Bewbush and Ifield West Division with the Gossops Green and Southgate Division of West Sussex County Council.  The reason for this proposal was to take account of a minor discrepancy between the Borough Ward boundary and County Division boundary at Burbeach Close, Bewbush.

 

The Committee considered the report and, in response to a query raised by a Committee member, the Electoral Services Manager confirmed that no additional staff would be required at the polling station to accommodate the new polling district.

 

Councillor Malik had to leave the meeting at this point due to technical difficulties with his online connection, and so was not present for the vote on the item.

 

A recorded vote was then taken on the recommendation (as set out in the report) in accordance with the Council’s Virtual Committee Procedure Rules.  The names of the Councillors voting for and against the recommendation, along with any abstentions, were recorded as follows:

 

For the recommendation:

Councillors Burrett, Crow, Eade, Jones, Lamb, Lanzer, Lunnon, McCarthy and Mullins (9).

 

Against the recommendation:

None (0).

 

Abstentions:

None (0).

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Full Council be recommended to amend the Polling Scheme to create polling district LAC as shown in the table at Appendix A to report CEX/52.

5.

May 2021 Elections

A verbal update by the Electoral Services Manager giving information on the Returning Officer’s progress on the planning for operating polling stations and the counting of votes at the elections.

Minutes:

The Electoral Services Manager provided the Committee with a verbal update on the May 2021 elections:

 

General:

·       The Borough election (which had been postponed in 2020), the West Sussex County Council election and the Police & Crime Commissioner election would be held in May 2021.

·       The Returning Officer for the Police & Crime Commissioner election (in Brighton) would want to maintain some stabilised arrangements across Sussex.

·       The Electoral Commission had provided guidance in relation to COVID-19 and was expected to provide further guidance in the lead up to the elections.

·       The Government had advised that the May 2021 elections would definitely be taking place.

·       Ensuring the polls were “COVID-secure” would be a challenge.

 

Polling Station Arrangements and Staffing:

·       Initial planning to ensure polling places were COVID-secure would involve investigating whether polling places could operate a one-way system with a separate entrance and exit, provide social distance markings on the floor with a queueing system which could be managed by the elections staff.  The use of PPE (masks) by both staff and electors would be necessary and polling equipment would need to be sanitised regularly.  The operation of polling stations would be in line with national guidance.

·       It was important to be able to reassure electors that voting in person at their polling place was safe.  An audit for COVID-security was therefore being undertaken on all current polling places on a building-by-building basis and it could be that some of those buildings would be found not to be COVID-compliant for use as a polling place.  It was intended that a report would be brought before the January 2021 Governance Committee meeting which would include any proposals for changes to polling places.

·       The current Polling Scheme included three schools and the Committee might want to give an indication, at its meeting in January, whether it wished to continue using those schools as polling places for the May 2021 election, given the disruption already experienced to children’s education as a result of the COVID lockdown earlier in the year.

·       Recruitment for election staff was likely to be necessary as the age profiles of individuals regularly involved in election work indicated that some of the most experienced election staff might not be available to work in the May 2021 election.

·       To ensure social distancing and manage the number of people present in a polling place at any one time it might be necessary to combine polling stations (where a polling place had multiple polling stations) or reduce the staffing levels in polling places (where space was limited).

 

Arrangements for the Counts:

·       Detailed planning for the counts would take place in early 2021.

·       The Borough Council and County Council counts would be held in the sports hall of K2 Leisure Centre.  Both counts would take place the day after the election, with the Borough count in the morning and the County count in the afternoon.

·       The Police & Crime Commissioner count would take place on the Monday following the elections.

·       K2 Leisure Centre’s sports hall was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.