Town councillors to halve their meetings

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News

Sleaford Town Councillors have voted reduce the number full council meetings they hold each year by half.

At their latest meeting, councillors agreed to trial meeting once every four weeks for a six-month period.

A number of councillors who disagreed are said to have have vowed to claim only half their expenses allowances as a result.

New meeting dates were agreed last Wednesday. Council panel meetings are held on a monthly basis so this is following that approach.

Clerk to the council, Kevin Martin, explained: “The workload here has increased as the town council gets involved in more projects – events like Cinema in the Park, one-off markets, Castlefield Heritage, street furniture. There is a continuous need to improve on what we do and how we do it.”

The number of resolutions coming from panels and council meetings has inevitably mounted up on staff, with some tasks having to be addressed seven days a week. The office team had been impacted further by the clerk or his deputy having to oversee council operatives due to a vacancy for the services team leader’s post.

“The move to four-weekly meetings will hopefully assist the administrative team to both catch up a number of tasks such as website development and the Neighbourhood Plan and allow time for us to develop in areas such as longer term strategies and our constitution,” said Mr Martin.

“If the council, or I as clerk, think the new approach is not working, council can resolve at any time to change it. There remains the ability to call an extraordinary meeting at any time.”

Councillors Ken Fernandes and Heather Lorimer both expressed reservations about the speed in which the council could deal with planning application comments, but it was argued that members are already asked to submit comments to the office in advance.

A proposal by Coun Lorimer to meet every three weeks was rejected.

Coun Tarek Hayat said he was more concerned about progress and quality of meetings not making sure “everyone feels good about themselves” by turning up to more meetings yet not getting anything done. He said often time was wasted on irrelevances because people had not read their papers.