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) as amended by Section 41 of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, 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.” Furthermore Section 48(1A) of the 2001 Act, as inserted by Section 41(a) of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, requires that at least one of the SPCs that is established shall be to consider matters which relate to the functions of the local authority in relation to economic development and enterprise support.
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 June 2014 – Corporate Policy Groups and Strategic Policy Committees: Guidelines for establishment and operation - available for viewing or download from the Department’s website on the following link – 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 Chief Executive. Where the Municipal District is not already represented a member of the Municipal District will also sit on the CPG. The CPG provides a forum for policy issues which transcend the remit of individual SPCs and municipal districts. The work of the SPCs is co-ordinated through the CPG and, acting as a link between the SPCs and the full Council the CPG has an active role in the preparation of the draft budget. The CPG will determine whether a function will be discharged at the municipal district or authority level, where reference in relation to this question is made to it. It must also be consulted in relation to the preparation of the corporate plan. The role of the CPG is strategic and it links and co-ordinates the work of the different SPCs. 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. Each SPC shall take account of the Council’s overall corporate policy and objectives and be responsive to external consultation.
SPC Scheme 2014-2019 – Structure & Membership
At the Annual Meeting of Leitrim County Council on 6th June 2014, following the 2014 Local Elections, the establishment of three (3) SPCs anchored in the main local government functions/services was approved by the Members:
- Economic Development, Enterprise and Planning SPC
- Housing Policy, Social and Cultural Development SPC
- Environmental, Transportation and Infrastructural Policy 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 three (3) 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 2014-2019
Leitrim County Council’s revised Strategic Policy Committee Scheme was adopted by the Council at their meeting on 1st September 2014 – 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 3 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