What is the difference between a committee and a sub-committee?

0 votes
We are a small council and over the years have had (a) just a full council (b) some sub-committees necessitating (c) a finance and general purposes committee, and (d) redesignating all committees as just working parties. Messy isn't it.

A committee is a more formal structure and has to be run along he same lines as full council; agenda, minuted, draft minutes and published minutes which would satsfy the transparency requirements.

Presumably, committees are open to the public?

Can individual committees report directly to the full council or must there be an intervening F.& G.P.?

Does the clerk have to serve on SCs and F.& G.P. or does the taking of minutes devolve to one of the councillor members?

Where a sub-committe delivers its report to the F.& G.P. is it really necessary, or even appropriate, for that same report to be given verbatim to the full council barely minutes later?

We appreciate that matters such as finance and planning are on-going rather than ad hoc matters and probably inappropriate to leave  to working parties. WPs do have the advantage of being able to include non-councillors, which can be useful.
asked by (140 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
The difference is that a sub-committee is set up by a committee. They are rare in small councils, since committees appointed by the council are usually sufficient. Committees are not often given the power to create subcommittees when they are set up by the council. Committees and sub-committees are all open to the public unless specifically excluded by resolution, giving reasons (in outlilne). Committees normally report to the council. Non-councillors can be appointed to any committee except a finance committee, but only in limited cases do they have a vote.

Anyone at all can take minutes, but they must be approved. Normally committees approve their own minutes and they are noted by the council. It is up to the council to decide what meetings to ask the clerk to attend.

By and large, it is best for reports to be presented in writing and not verbatim. Reports should be made available to councillors and public along with the agenda. It clearly saves time to avoid verbatim reports, while not precluding discussion where appropriate.

Normal council business should not, ideally, be handled by working groups for obvious democratic reasons. Working groups are best for exploring complex issues and bringing them to a point where specific questions can be put to the council or a council committee.
answered by (26.9k points)

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