The Committee were presented a report* which outlined a task and finish group’s recommendations on changes to the constitution with tracked changes provided. The Chair opened the floor to Members who raised the following points/questions:
The following was discussed:
- Under time, place and notice of meetings (4.3) it was suggested that the word approved be removed, to read “the Chief Executive will send a summons”
- Regarding recommendation G, rules regarding Substitute Members were discussed and how this might impact a committee politically, specifically the Planning Committee. It was clarified that an individual member could choose their substitute as per 3.1 under substitutes. It was noted that training was an important factor, particularly for planning which should not be political and ensured good attendance on committees.
- Quorum was highlighted and the conciseness of 6.1 was discussed. It was noted that there was an error in the wording under 6.1 and that it should not be a quarter of Members present but a quarter of the whole number of Members.
- Paragraph 9 (single issue debate) was discussed and clarification was sought as to why this had been removed. The District Solicitor & Monitoring Officer explained that it was unknown as to why this was the case and that this should be investigated.
- A typo was highlighted under 11.1.6 (b) as it read “within in” and discussion took place as to how this section should be worded.
- Regarding 12.1 it was sought as to why this had been removed. The District Solicitor and Monitoring Officer explained that it was uncertain as to why this was removed.
- Regarding 15, voting was discussed whether section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 should be included within the constitution. This section outlined the legal requirement that any Member who was 2 month or more in arrears with Council Tax payments must declare the fact and not vote at any meeting at which the budget or council tax matters would be discussed.
The Chief Executive reassured Members that officers conducted checks months prior to the vote on the budget in order to be compliant with this legislation.
RESOLVED to RECOMMEND: To Council that
a) The Council Procedure Rule 25.2 be suspended to allow the following amendments to be made to the Constitution at its next meeting.
b) Subject to any further changes to recommendations (c), (d) and (g)
below, the Council Procedure Rules be amended as outlined in
Appendix B to this report subject to the following:
i. Under 4.3word approved be removed, to read “the Chief Executive will send a summons”.
ii. With the removal of “present at the meeting where physical presence is required (or in attendance including remotely where such physical presence is not required)” from 6.1.
iii. That point 9 to 9.2, single issue debate be kept, pending an investigation by the Monitoring Officer as to whether it could be removed.
iv. That 11.1.6 (b) be kept unchanged, but with proposition changed to motion.
v. That 12.1 (b) (rules of debate) and the paragraph below, not be removed, pending an investigation by the Monitoring Officer as to whether it could be removed.
vi. That section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 be added to the constitution under section 15.7, voting.
c) The Council Procedure Rules regarding Member Questions be amended as set out in Appendix B Rule 10.
d) The Council Procedure Rules regarding Public Questions be amended as set out in Appendix B Rule 8.
e) Members’ Business remain on full Council but Members be asked to take account of the guidance on its use set out in this report at paragraph 4.4.
f) The requirement for the Planning Committee to consider an Implications
Report (if it proposes to determine an application contrary to policy and officer recommendation) before decision confirmed, be removed.
g) The rules on Substitute Members be amended so that trained substitutes may come from any group where there is no other trained Member in the permanent Members’ political group.
h) The practice at full Council for Chairs to have to read out minutes of each committee (including PDGs and Cabinet) be stopped.
(Proposed by Cllr C Slade, seconded by Cllr B G J Warren)
The meeting continued and the Committee considered the task and finish group’s recommendation that motion 577 not be supported.
It was also RECOMMENDED to Full Council that Motion 577 not be supported.
(Proposed by Cllr C Slade, seconded by Cllr Mrs M Squires)
(Cllr B G J Warren voted against)