Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Shirley Hudspeth 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor G Ellis.


Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests in connection with any items of business on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.


No declarations of interest were received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To approve the accuracy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee held on 17 July 2013.


Councillor L Fraser drew attention to Minute No. 4 of the last meeting - Review and Update on the Council’s Ethical Framework – and asked why the cross-party Member Working Group, to review the current Standards Regime and report back its recommendations to the Committee for consideration, had not yet met.  She was concerned that the Working Group had not had its first meeting, particularly in the light of the last scheduled meeting of the Committee on 25 September 2013 being cancelled, due to lack of business.


The Head of Legal and Member Services apologised that the cross-party Working Group had not yet met and informed that nominations for it was at Item No. 5 on the Committee’s agenda for this meeting.  He intended to twin track the work the Working Group had been set up to do along with the whole scale review of the Constitution, due to commence early in January 2014.


Councillor L Fraser informed that she considered it strange that other Committees of the Council were able to establish Working Groups and Panels, obtain nominations and set dates for meetings but that this Committee had not been able to do this.  She raised concerns that this approach had not been adopted by this Committee.




That the Minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee held on 17 July 2014 be approved as a correct record.


Revisions to the Council's Constitution pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The report of the Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources is attached, together with Appendix 1 (Proposed changes to the Constitution to be approved under the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee powers)


Appendix 2 (Proposed changes to the Constitution to be recommended to Council) will be circulated separately.

Additional documents:


A report by the Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources informed the Committee that the Council’s Constitution was a ‘living document’ which needed to be kept under review to reflect changes in the Council and changes in the way the Council delivered services and went about its business. Regular reviews were necessary to:


·  ensure the Constitution remained relevant and effective;

·  identify changes required to ensure clarity and consistency; and

·  provide an opportunity for the Council’s constitutional arrangements to be continuously improved.


The Committee was responsible for keeping the Council’s Constitutional arrangements under review.  It could make minor changes to the Constitution as it considered appropriate and make recommendations on possible changes to the Council.  Any changes made should be made in order to better achieve the purposes set out in Article 1 of the Council’s Constitution.


The Director’s report informed that the Monitoring Officer had carried out a preliminary review of the Constitution under his delegated powers and minor changes were required to address for example simple continuity issues, changes/corrections to officer titles and other names.


The report also set out proposals to amend the Council’s Constitution by the Committee itself or to recommend approval to the Council to ensure that the Constitution remained effective. The Monitoring Officer’s review had centred on addressing continuity, updating titles of bodies and officers, updating references to legislation, and addressing specific operational issues that had been identified.  There were two Schedules appended to the report.  Schedule 1 contained proposed amendments to the Constitution that were considered to be of a minor nature, and therefore approval of those changes fell within the remit/authority of the Committee.  Schedule 2 contained other proposed amendments to the Constitution that it was considered should be approved by Council.


The report contained the history and background to the review work carried out, detailed issues for the Committee’s consideration and set out a summary of proposed key amendments in respect of:


·  The Council’s Procedural Rules;

·  Constituency Committees;

·  The Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee’s Terms of Reference;

·  Schemes of Delegation; and

·  The Call-in Procedure.


The Committee noted that it was intended that a whole scale review of the Constitution would commence in early January 2014.  A Members’ survey would be undertaken as part of this exercise which would canvass the views of all Members on, not only the effectiveness of the current Constitutional arrangements, but also on what each Member considered could/should be improved. The outcome of this review together with recommendations/proposals on changes to the Council’s Constitution would be reported back to this Committee and/or to the Cabinet for consideration. 


Councillor L Fraser moved the following Motion which was seconded by Councillor C Blakeley:


  ‘If the Committee is unable to agree any of the amendments set out in Schedules 1 and 2 to the report they be included in the consultation exercise to be undertaken with Members in early January 2014.’


Councillor R Abbey reported that it was his understanding that the Schedules contained interim measures to be taken to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Nominations for a Cross-Party Standards Working Group


At the last meeting held on 17 July 2013 the Committee had agreed to establish a cross-party Working Group consisting of:


·  the Chairperson of the Committee;

·  two Members from the Labour Group;

·  two Members from the Conservative Group;

·  one Member from the Liberal Democrat Group; and

·  at least one of the Independent Persons (none voting).


Any Member of the Working Group was entitled to nominate a deputy to attend meetings of the Working Group on his/her behalf providing the nominee was a Member of the Committee.


Nominations for the Working Group were requested.




That nominations for the cross-party Working Group be submitted by Group Whips to the Head of Legal and Member Services.