Agenda item

Moving Training Forward - Member Development Panel Minute No. 28/12(b)


The Executive Member for Performance & Business Development said that he supported the issues raised at the Member Development Panel in relation to the lack of a Members’ Room.  He had constantly found the St George’s Room to be full when wanting to use it and felt that it should be made available. 


The Executive Member for Localism, Community & Environmental Services pointed out that Room 35, the new meeting room next to the Contact Centre that had been recommended by the Member Development Panel to be used as the new Members’ Room, was far too small and felt that the St George’s Room should be re-instated as a room purely for Members. The Executive Member for Internal Services pointed out that he had never felt the need to have an exclusive Members’ Room as Breckland Council had an excellent ICT service.  If the St George’s Room was used exclusively for Members it would remain empty most of the time.  The Vice-Chairman stated that a number of the recommendations listed had cost implications and felt it reasonable to find out how much the video conferencing equipment would cost to move.


The Chairman of Planning agreed that a Members’ Room was required but felt that the St George’s Room was too big and would be better for Officers to use. 


The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission agreed there should be an appropriate sized room made available with appropriate facilities, including pigeon holes for all Members. The Leader’s Room, as far as he was concerned, was completely inaccessible when the main room was being used. He raised concerns about the video conferencing equipment being removed as Breckland Council would be relying more and more on such technology in this shared environment.


The Chief Executive said that it was not unusual to have a Members’ Room in an authority.  However, he felt that the room designated as a Members’ Room appeared to be a meeting room because of the long table.  He had attended the Member Development Panel meeting and it was agreed that the Members’ Room should be made more informal and that there should be a distinction between a Members’ Room and a meeting room.  To help move this forward he suggested that Room 35 be turned into a Members’ Room whilst Members’ reviewed what they wanted to do with the St George’s Room.  The Chairman agreed with the suggestion and said that Room 35 should be trialled with swipe cards to monitor how much it was used.


The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development said that whilst the table was in the St George’s Room it would always be used as a meeting room.


The Executive Member for Performance & Business Development felt that Room 35 was too small.  He wanted to hear the thoughts of Mr Bambridge who was a Member of the Member Development Panel.  Mr Bambridge advised that he had never been in favour of Room 35 but Members needed a room that was exclusive to them.


The Opposition Leader put his views forward and felt that the St George’s Room should be turned into a meeting room and Room 35 should become the new Members’ Room.


Following further discussion, it was




1)     Room 35 becomes a formal meeting room for all to use;

2)     the St George’s Room to remain as a Members’ Room only (no meetings to take place in this room except for Executive Board meetings and Emergency Planning meetings);

3)     the video conferencing equipment and the White Board be removed from the St George’s Room and WIFI equipment be installed; and

4)     the St George’s Room be monitored for the next three months to gauge usage.