Sheriff Christopher Hayward has provided an update on the Lisvane Review. In it, he thanks the Livery Committee for its support of all Members of the Court of Common Council during the process.
As many of you will know, in September 2019, the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation proposed the undertaking of a comprehensive Governance Review of the City Corporation. This has been a largely internal piece of work on the City’s governance arrangements and committee structure.
The Policy & Resources Committee was conscious that some potentially contentious issues needed to be addressed and that some radical changes may need to be considered. It was, therefore, agreed that the review should be undertaken independently and Robert Rodgers, The Lord Lisvane, was appointed to conduct the Review.
Following the Review’s submission, it was determined that the many proposals therein should be considered in a structured and methodical way in the coming period, with Members afforded sufficient time to read and consider the content and implications. It was noted that the recommendations were extensive, and it would be for Members to consider how far they were appropriate, and which should be taken forward. It was also agreed that it would be of the utmost importance to ensure that the process provided for all Members of the Court to continue to have the opportunity to input and comment on the Review.
I know that many colleagues in the Livery have taken great interest in this work and I want to take this opportunity to thank the Livery Committee and Livery Companies for the engagement and support throughout the Governance Review process.
This is a process we are following in stages and, so far, the Policy and Resources Committee has agreed a set of recommendations on Standards and on Competitiveness.
The City Corporation’s Standards regime has been discussed for a long time, and Members all agree that change was needed. The Policy and Resources Committee agreed with Lord Lisvane’s recommendation to replace the existing Standards Committee and Standards Appeals Committee with an Independent Panel. This Panel will be composed of independent persons, with strong professional experience and diversity of backgrounds. There will be an open and transparent recruitment process for this panel – overseen by the Policy Chair, Chief Commoner, and Chair of the General Purposes Committee of Aldermen.
Complaints will now go through a three-stage process:
- First, a Conciliation stage to seek a swift resolution if possible.
- Then a Formal hearing by the Panel.
- And finally an Appeal stage.
It is hoped this will avoid the need to debate issues in Court of Common Council, which everyone agreed was unhelpful and embarrassing. The aim is for the new Panel, which will also oversee dispensations, to be up and running for the next municipal year.
The Lisvane Review proposed that a new committee be set up to promote the economic competitiveness of the City. Members felt that rather than another formal committee, an Innovation and Growth Advisory Board be established.
Internal Members for this committee would be drawn from across Court of Common Council, to form a core steering group. External members would be brought in for working groups covering specific sectors, markets and issues. The idea is that this flexible approach will make the best use of people’s expertise.
The Board will provide guidance and advice to our Innovation & Growth and to the Policy and Resources Committee on implementing the City’s competitiveness strategy, and support to the Policy Chair and Lord Mayor in their roles as ambassadors for City business.
Looking ahead – Planning, Constitutional issues and Committee structure
Looking ahead, we have several more areas of the Governance Review still to cover, including planning, constitutional issues and committee structure.
Significant changes have been recommended to the committee structure, reducing the number of committees from 32 to 19, and significantly reducing the number of sub committees, consultative committees and working parties.
Another question still to be settled is the title of the Chair of Policy and Resources – Resources Allocation Sub Committee recommended ‘Leader of the Council’. ‘Political Leader’ has also been proposed.
This is a major piece of work and I am grateful to all those involved. These will be some of the most significant changes we have made for many years, and we need to make these changes to ensure our governance is fit for purpose in the years to come – at a time when not only is the City around us changing, but the structure of the City Corporation is also being significantly reshaped.
Once again, I want to thank the Livery Committee and their support to all Members of the Court of Common Council during this process.
Sheriff Christopher Hayward, Deputy Chairman of Policy & Resources Committee, City of London Corporation