Agenda item

Future Role and Function of the Board

Discussion outline attached.


Margret Carney referred to the feedback she had received from one- to - one discussions with Board members about the future role and function of the Board. There seemed to be a unanimous view that there was merit in having an assembly for strategic purposes. There was also a view that although the Board may have struggled to identify its own role, it did not want duplication or to be seen to be “rubber–stamping” issues. Comments were made about the variable attendance of Board Members and the subsequent lack of continuity. It was also felt that agendas and actions could be seen to be Council–led. The majority of members felt that other partners should take more responsibility in the Board’s deliberations. Margaret’s own view was that there was a particular issue regarding the formality of meetings and the amount of paperwork. She believed that the Board’s efforts should be concentrated on those relatively few, but strategically important issues for Sefton.


The Board discussed its strengths and weaknesses on a SWOT analysis basis. Janet Atherton felt that one of the Board’s strengths was that it was one of the main agencies where such a range of organisations meet to discuss appropriate issues. Margaret Carney referred to community resilience as a core objective and Roy Williams identified making Sefton a better place in which to live and work as a key common goal for the partners on the Board. Angela White considered that the borough’s ageing population and fuel poverty would be major issues to address. Roy Williams felt that the title of the Board was misleading as it should be dealing with strategic, rather than operational, matters.


 The Board discussed a number of questions in relation to its future role, including:

a)    What does the role need to become?

b)    Where should we focus our leadership and energies?

c)    What do you as a leader of your organisation need from the group of people who make up the Operations Board?

d)    What are your expectations of being a member of the Operations Board?

e)    Membership.

f)     What’s in a name?


Sam Tunney felt that the Board should collectively legitimise action on  specific issues. Chris Jones queried whether the Board needed to look at the impact of the Region and the City Region in terms of the economy. Roy Williams wondered whether the Board’s role should be to lead and champion issues within the borough; to investigate initiatives which would make Sefton great; and whether there could be measurable outcomes for this. Sam Tunney also referred to a possible role in tweaking resources after common discussions. Janet Marlow favoured the idea of the championing role and Angela White believed that all of the staff of the partner organisations were potential champions.


Peter Morgan referred to three key initiatives that had resulted in superb outcomes: the establishment of the Disarm Gun and Gang Crime Strategy Group; the Health and Wellbeing Strategy; and the response to Welfare Reform Policies. Roy Williams stated that although there could be too many problems to address successfully in the future, he liked the idea of the “Sefton Shining Stars” initiative and the principle of recognising success. Margaret Carney agreed that celebration of success and “branding” the borough were  important. She wondered whether we were doing enough to encourage volunteering. Peter Morgan referred to successful initiatives being undertaken in Barry, South Wales whereby members of the community are encouraged to get together to explore important issues such as dementia. Janet Marlow referred to the success of the “No Limits” awards and Peter Morgan referred to Sefton having the biggest proportion of young people obtaining Duke of Edinburgh awards. Margaret Carney asked if this success story theme could be developed for the next meeting and in the meantime, she asked if colleagues could start to assemble examples of what makes Sefton a great place and consider how we can mobilise our capacity to make more of events which are already planned. Peter Morgan suggested colleagues could pair up to investigate certain themes. Angela White reminded colleagues that Sefton would be 40 years old in 2014. It was agreed that the colleagues indicated below would scope the following themes and submit conclusions to the next meeting:-

·         Celebrate Sefton/ Achievements and Attractions – Peter Morgan and Roy Williams

·         Volunteering- Angela White and Janet Atherton

·         Sefton Pound- Margaret Carney plus one other

·         Ageing Well/ Community Resilience – Janet Marlow plus one other.


In relation to reviewing the membership of the Board, Margaret Carney agreed to investigate the possibility of inviting the Liverpool and Sefton Chamber of Trade to nominate a representative.


In relation to the name of the Board, the titles “Strategic Board” and “Sefton Leadership Collaborative” were suggested.


In relation to the format and frequency of meetings, Margaret Carney indicated that the feedback she had received favoured a less formal approach and colleagues present suggested earlier starting times. Margaret also suggested that the current quarterly frequency of meetings should be reviewed after consideration of the scoping conclusions referred to above.




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