Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs)
Background – Establishment of SPCs
The statutory basis for Strategic Policy Committee’s (SPC’s) is set out in the Local Government Act, 2001 (Section 48) which provides that “a Local Authority shall establish committees to be known as Strategic Policy Committees to consider matters connected with the formulation, development, monitoring and review of policy which relate to the functions of the Local Authority and advise the authority on those matters.”
Following the 5-yearly Local Elections each county and city council is required to establish new SPC’s in line with guidelines published by the Department in October 1999 (as updated by various Department Circulars) - Strategic Policy Committees Guidelines for establishment and operation - available for viewing or download from the Department’s website on the following link – Department Guidelines.
Corporate Policy Group (CPG)
The Council also establishes a Corporate Policy Group (CPG) which comprises the Cathaoirleach of the Council and the SPC Chairs, and is supported by the County Manager. The role of the CPG is to advise and to assist the elected Council in the formulation, development, monitoring and review of policy. The CPG will co-ordinate and link the work of the various SPCs and will act as a forum where policy decisions affecting the entire Council can be agreed for recommendation to the full Council.
The Members of the CPG are also members of the County Development Board (CDB), facilitating necessary and appropriate linkage and feedback between the SPCs and the CDB.
The CPG will also consider the work programme of the SPCs and recommend issues to be considered by the SPCs.
Role of Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs)
The Council is and remains the decision making Authority, and it is the task of the SPCs, as committees of the Council, to advise and assist the Council in the formulation, development and review of policy. The remit of the SPCs is to deal only with policy matters and as such they are strategic in nature. They have no remit in relation to routine operational matters in relation to delivery of services. The SPC system is intended to give Councillors and relevant Sectoral Interests an opportunity for full involvement in the policy making process from the early stages.
The work of the SPC is supported by the relevant Director of Services and his/her staff. Background work, discussion and recommendations will be completed at SPC level before final consideration and ratification by the Council. Each SPC will provide advice and reports to the Council on any policy matter within their range of responsibility or on related issues. This may be on the initiative of the SPC or on the request of the Council or the CPG. The SPC will be represented at Council meetings by the Chairperson, who will normally present the outcome of SPC work to the full Council.
SPC Scheme 2009-2014 – Structure & Membership
At the Annual Meeting of Leitrim County Council on 19th June 2009, following the 2009 Local Elections, the establishment of four (4) SPCs, aligned to the four Service Directorates (having regard to the revised operational structure of the Council since the last SPC Scheme), and anchored in the main local government functions/ services, was approved by the Members:
- Community, Cultural and Enterprise Development SPC
- Housing and Corporate Services SPC
- Planning, Environment & Emergency Services SPC
- Infrastructure SPC
This structure is considered to be in the best interests of efficient policy development and its implementation, which will ultimately reflect itself in improved service delivery and will facilitate the Council adequately responding to the emerging challenges ahead.
Each of the four (4) SPCs consists of six (6) elected members and four (4) nominees from sectoral interests
The Council appoints the Chairperson of each SPC who must be an elected member. The Chairperson holds office for a minimum period of 3 years which may be renewed by the Council.
Membership of the SPCs (both Councillors and Sectoral Representatives) is for the lifetime of the Council. Casual vacancies which arise will be filled by the sector involved. Nominating bodies may also de-select their nominees.
SPC Scheme 2009-2014
Leitrim County Council has now revised its Strategic Policy Committee Scheme which was adopted by the Council at their meeting on 2nd November 2009 – SPC Scheme
Nominations were invited from the sectoral interests in accordance with the Scheme as adopted and following receipt of nominations the final membership of the 4 SPC’s was considered and approved by Leitrim County Council. Details of the assignment of sectoral representatives to SPC’s and the nomination process are outlined in the Scheme.
Details of the current approved Membership of the SPC's are as follows - Members of SPC's