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East Riding Council Prepares Emergency Decision Making Plan

East Riding Council Prepares Emergency Decision Making Plan

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Joe Gerrard at 8:24am 21st March 2020.

East Riding councillors have voted to pass powers to committee chairs and unelected officers if they are unable to meet due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Conservative-run council’s measures would see committee chairs and officers take decisions if meetings can’t take place.

Council leader Richard Burton said committees would continue to meet as normal if possible and only used as a last resort.

The measures passed, along with the backing of the Liberal Democrat opposition, the Yorkshire Party and independents.

Cllr Burton said he put the measures forward with “a heavy heart” but said they were necessary because of the circumstances.

He also tabled an amendment which he said would provide greater checks and balances if the powers were used.

Cllr Burton said:

“We are at war with an enemy we can’t see. But we will get through this if we work together as one.

These are extreme circumstances. But we want to make sure we’ve got the means to continue even if we are not in the building.

The plans are a backstop. But they give us protocols and continuation so it’s important these powers are in place.

I have had briefings here every day with officers and I’ve seen our council staff work in the most professional way.

We’ve been working out ways on how we can best come together and shield our most vulnerable residents.”

The amended plans which passed included four points.

The first is that decision making committees will continue to meet wherever possible. The second point outlines when the delegated powers can be used.

They will be used in exceptional circumstances where decisions are critical and delays would impact on council services.

The third point states that reports will be provided to council directors and published on the council’s website five working days before a decision is taken.

Reports will also be published after decisions are taken.

The fourth point allows the council’s chief executive Caroline Lacey to exercise the powers if needed, but in consultation with the leader and opposition head.

Liberal Democrat leader David Nolan said the measures and the amendment were broadly welcome.

He added the council should push to use virtual meetings where possible, with Cllr Burton responding that they are subject to government rules.

Cllr Nolan said:

“I would also like to see the council trying to co-ordinate help offered by volunteers.

These are exceptional times and we want to make sure people are helped.

Conservative Cllr David Tucker said the council appeared united in its backing of the plans.

We’re living moment to moment. We don’t know what tomorrow will look like.

It’s a leap of faith. But we want to be able to come back here when this is over and look back and think that we did the right thing."

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Burton said the support of the measures showed a tremendous amount of unity among councillors from all parties.

Cllr Burton said:

“We live in very challenging times and we’ve made the right decision going forward. The council and staff want the very best for residents.

The council’s in a very strong position to help the community. We’re seeing the community coming together now."

Cllr Nolan said he was broadly in agreement and that the decision taken was the right one.

Cllr Nolan said:

“There are some question marks going forward. We’d like to see the council set up a number for local groups who are offering help to contact us.

I’m concerned, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable who are not in the system, such as those who do not have family members around to help them.

There’s been an upswell in community spirit but we want the council to keep control of monitoring these groups.”

 

 

Comments

There is 1 comment on this page.

Barra, on 23rd March 2020 9:41am
I think it’s time that all the caravan parks in the East Riding of Yorkshire and North Yorkshire should be closed, until the coronavirus out brake has gone. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to travel over to there caravans, this is not essential travel.

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