Panels…..What are they and how will they work?
Panels are a unique way of working and special to Frome. They aim to become a dynamic and open way to engage the expertise and experience of Cllrs with the wider community.
We still have Council meetings (where all seventeen councillors meet), although once a month rather than six-times a year. This is where the normal business of the Council will be conducted and recommendations of the panels heard. We no longer have any committees which we felt were too cumbersome.
If you would like an update on one of the four panels please click on the title of the panel you wish to find out more about.
Frome Town Council agreed on 10 June to set up Panels on the following:
Panels will be reasonably short term; once their work is done they will disband and a new topic will be selected by the Council. They will identify concerns, test imaginative and interesting solutions and will make recommendations to the Council, leading to projects to be undertaken by the Town Council staff and the creation of partnerships with community organisations.
Panels will be open to the public and their formation and meetings will be advertised. Whilst “experts” will be invited to contribute and sit on the Panel we really want to call on those people in the town who have interests and skills in the areas under scrutiny. Some Panels may be led, and populated mainly by, non-councillors, recognising and tapping into the infectious enthusiasm and local knowledge of residents.
Panels will be time restricted so they lead to clear recommendations in limited time. We are restricting the number of Panels running at any one time to five, to ensure there are enough staff to support them. With a bit of luck however, we could still tackle twenty or so different topics over the next four years.
The formation, remit and timetable of a new Panel will be approved by the Council so that we get a broad spread of topics and some quick results.
A member of the Town Council staff will be allocated to each Panel to arrange meetings, provide advice and keep a record. They will maintain a separate spot for each Panel on the town website (coming soon) with contact details and up to date news and progress will be shared on Facebook.
Panels aim to broaden democratic engagement in Frome. They are an experiment for six months, which we can adjust, adapt or abandon if this is not achieved. You can see below a timetable and more info about Panels.
Keep Frome Clean Panel launches October-watch!