>> 1 February 2017
A new decision-making structure for Aberdeenshire Council is now in place, following the appointment of councillors to lead the authority’s main policy committees.
A meeting of the full Aberdeenshire Council appointed chairs and vice-chairs of the four new policy committees and a new Audit Committee. The new structure will support the council’s new Scheme of Governance, the document which guides the operation of Aberdeenshire Council.
In line with the policy of Aberdeenshire Council’s Partnership Administration of SNP, Labour and Progressive Independent councillors, the position of chair of the Audit Committee was reserved for a member of the opposition, as is the case in most local authorities across the country and in line with best practice recommended by Audit Scotland. This is in contrast to the position of the previous Tory-led administration which retained the position of chair for a Conservative member.
The scheme is made up of for elements: Standing Orders (rules regulating council business and proceedings); Delegations (powers delegated to committees and officers); Financial Regulations (rules on spending); and Guidance (covering scrutiny and procurement). The Scheme is now formally in operation following the agreement of councillors.
The appointments to the new policy committees, along with the key responsibilities of the groups, were made as follows:
Chair: Cllr Richard Thomson (SNP-Ellon & District)
Vice-chair: Cllr Stephen Smith (SNP-Peterhead South & Cruden)
The Business Services Committee is responsible for finance, ICT, legal services (including licensing and registration of births, deaths and marriages), property and facilities management, human resources, and valuation and electoral registration. The committee also covers communication, improvement and emergency planning functions.
Chair: Cllr Anne Allan (SNP-Peterhead North & Rattray)
Vice-chair: Cllr Raymond Christie (Labour-Stonehaven & Lower Deeside)
The Communities Committee is responsible for adult social work, community planning, housing, and leisure and sport. It will also consider matters relating to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Police Authority, and will be responsible for monitoring the Integration Joint Board for Health and Social Care.
Education and Children’s Services
Chair: Cllr Alison Evison (Labour-North Kincardine)
Vice-chair: Cllr Charles Buchan (SNP-Fraserburgh & District)
The Education and Children’s Services Committee is responsible for education, children’s social work services, and libraries, culture and museums. The committee’s remit also includes human resources support for teaching staff.
Chair: Cllr David Aitchison (SNP-Westhill & District)
Vice-chair: Cllr Graeme Clark (SNP-Stonehaven & Lower Deeside)
The Infrastructure Services Committee is responsible for economic development and protective services, planning and building standards, transportation, and roads, landscape services and waste management. The committee will also consider matters relating to the Aberdeen City Region Deal, and visitor attractions.
Chair: Cllr Gillian Owen (Conservative-Ellon & District)
Vice-chair: Cllr Ross Cassie (SNP-Troup)
The Audit Committee is responsible for internal and external audit matters, financial management, and scrutiny of the Integration Joint Board for Health and Social Care.
As well as the duties outlined above, the new committees will have increased financial decision-making powers and, along with area committees, will have direct responsibility for scrutiny, a role previously held by what is now the Audit Committee.