Wide and varied remit deals with everything from rates to risk management

Policy and Governance Committee chairman, Cllr David Arthurs and vice-chair, Alderman Pamela Barr. INNT 33-599CON
Policy and Governance Committee chairman, Cllr David Arthurs and vice-chair, Alderman Pamela Barr. INNT 33-599CON

We continue our profiles of the council’s committees by talking to Councillor David Arthurs (TUV), chairperson of the Policy & Governance Committee.

Q: What does your committee do?

A: The committee has a wide and varied remit. We have responsibility for the general oversight of and policy relating to: Corporate finance, budget planning; rate estimates; human resources; staffing, learning and development; safeguarding; equality; ICT services; communication, marketing and public relations; customer relations; procurement, mayoral and members’ services; business planning and performance management; registration, cemeteries; insurance; emergency planning and health & safety; legal issues; information governance, data protection and freedom of information; asset and risk management; resolutions from other councils and general matters of policy and resources.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the work your committee has been doing over the last few months?

A: I suppose one of the most highly visible and recognisable aspects of the committee’s recent work is the application of the new council logo. The logo was developed by our own talented graphic designers and, to keep costs under control, it will be phased in over a period of time. Over the last couple of years, when bin lorries had come to the end of their working life, replacements were ordered in white and so residents will soon see these branded with the new logo and council colours.

The safety of the public and our employees is a key priority for the council, so we’ve been working on a draft Emergency Plan to protect the community in the event of an emergency and also a Health and Safety Framework aimed at protecting our employees.

Work is also progressing on a governance framework which will determine how the council makes it decisions and manages its services in terms of local accountability.

We’ve agreed an investment in ICT infrastructure to future-proof the digital needs of the council and the borough.

Q: Is it your committee that decides the amount of rates we pay?

A: It is actually the full council who agree the rates, but budget planning, which helps determine the rates, is a very important aspect of the work of the Policy and Governance Committee. We’ve already agreed a timetable, with an early start, for council officers to begin work on the 2016/17 rates estimates process.

Q: Who are the councillors on the committee?

A: There are 15 elected members on the committee including myself and the vice chairperson, Alderman Pamela Barr (DUP). The other members are: Ald Fraser Agnew (UUP); Ald Billy DeCourcy (DUP); Cllr Phillip Brett (DUP); Cllr Tim Girvan (DUP); Cllr Michael Goodman (Sinn Fein); Cllr Nigel Kells (DUP); Cllr Ben Kelso (UUP); Cllr Annemarie Logue (Sinn Fein); Cllr Noreen McClelland (SDLP); Cllr Michael Maguire (UUP); Cllr Paul Michael (UUP); Cllr John Scott (UUP); Cllr Billy Webb (Alliance).

Q: How do we get in touch with members of the committee?

A: Our telephone numbers and email addresses are on the council’s website - www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk

The public are welcome to attend our meetings and a schedule of all the committee and full council meetings are also on the website.