Council changes its decision-making process in response to COVID-19

Argyll council leader Aileen Morton represents Helensburgh.

By Aileen MacLennan

Argyll and Bute Council has agreed major changes to its decision-making processes as part of its response to COVID-19.

Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Helensburgh’s Councillor Aileen Morton explained:  “Our committee system works well when we can plan ahead and deliver a range of meetings focusing on different areas of the council’s work.

“The COVID-19 pandemic however changes quickly. Our decision-making process has to be flexible enough to deliver decisions rapidly so that we are doing all we can to protect our employees and communities.

“At the same time, we have to continue with the normal business of the council – we deliver a wide range of services for young and old, businesses and local communities. We have to find ways to maintain vital services using as few resources as possible considering the enormous scale of work we are doing to respond to COVID-19.

“The changes agreed today make it easier to take urgent decisions when needed and to continue progressing the longer term business of the council.” 

A special meeting of full Council today agreed to set up a Business Continuity Committee (BCC) to temporarily replace and do the work of its numerous scheduled committees.

Nine councillors, from the area’s 36 elected members, will sit on the BCC to deal with normal business that would usually be managed by the full Council or another committee.

The BCC will function as other committees, with published agendas, reports and minutes.

Councillors also noted that the Chief Executive has the authority through the Council’s Constitution to make urgent decisions that would normally go to a committee for consideration, if required. During this period of responding to COVID-19 councillors agreed to widen the consultation the Chief Executive is required to do for these decisions to include the Leader, Depute Leader and Leader of the Opposition where available.


  1. I see Argyll & Bute Council are streets ahead of WDC in their democratic decision making plans. The Community Party sought an Emergency Council meeting on 11.3.2020 to discuss the Corona Virus situation but this was refused by both SNP & Labour Groups on the Council. To date, all the decisions being made in West Dunbartonshire are by the Council’s “Resilience Team” which is made up of officers.

  2. Now that’s a surprise, not. I have been following the Council’s website for public health announcements and advice for taxpayers here. There have been very few. They deny the public any advice they might have by refusing to deal with The Democrat. The Council should change it motto to Mediocrity.

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