Agenda and draft minutes
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Contact: Shirley Hudspeth
Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest
Members of the Committee are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.
No declarations of interest were received.
To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meetings of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee held on 26 November, 2013 and 6 January, 2014.
The Committee was aware that Minute No. 8 had already been considered by the Council at its meeting on 16 December 2013. However, all of the Minutes that related to the meeting held on the 26 November 2013 were now being presented to the Committee, so that it could agree that they were a correct record or otherwise and so that the Chair could sign them.
That subject to the amendment below the Minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 26 November 2013 and 6 January 2014 be confirmed as a correct record.
Minute No. 8 of meeting on 26 November 2014 – Revisions to the Constitution, final paragraph on page 6 to read:
‘Councillor L Fraser informed that she had been happy with the proposed
amendment to Paragraph 15 – Special urgency on Schedule 1 until she had
heard Councillor P Kearney’s comments which had allowed her to see it in a
different light. Councillor C Blakeley informed that he agreed with Councillor L Fraser on this.’
A report on the Member Surveys results in respect of amendments to the Constitution and perceptions on the Council’s Governance arrangements.
A report by the Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources reminded 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 did business. It was noted that regular reviews helped to:
· ensure the Constitution remained relevant and effective;
· identified changes required to ensure clarity and consistency; and
· provided an opportunity for continuous improvement of the Council’s constitutional arrangements.
Members noted that the Committee was responsible for keeping the Council’s Constitutional arrangements under review. It was able to make minor changes to the Constitution as it considered appropriate and make recommendations to the Council regarding changes. However, any changes made should be made in order to better achieve the purposes set out in Article 1 – The Constitution of the Council’s Constitution.
To assist the Committee discharge its role and responsibilities, the two following Members’ Surveys had been agreed at its meeting on 6 January 2014:
· Proposed Amendments to Council’s Constitution; and
· Member Perceptions and Experiences of the Governance Arrangements.
These Surveys had been, subsequently, launched on 13 January 2014 and had ran until 31 January 2014. The report included the responses received in relation to them.
The Committee had initially considered proposals to amend the Council’s Constitution at its meeting on 26 November 2013. It had then made recommendations to the Council.
However, the Council at its meeting on 16 December 2013 had resolved that:
“Council considers that it is not in a position to accept the amendments suggested in Schedule 2.
The schedule of items set out on pages 45-49 of the Summons fails to clarify the concerns raised at the meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee held on 26 November.
Given the confusion and conflicting opinions expressed and evident at that meeting, Council believes that the matter be deferred. In order to restore confidence in the process, all Members should have full opportunity to see and consider the changes set out more clearly. There has to be ample time for further study and potential agreement.
To aid this consideration, the various issues shall be set out on these suggested lines:
(i) The original wording, with the full paragraph;
(ii) The wording that is the subject of suggested change;
(iii) The revised wording in context;
(iv) A reasoned argument setting out the background and comment explaining the proposed change.
Individual Members should be invited to comment by a date to be agreed so that their views on the issues can be considered at the next meeting of the Committee on 5February 2014.
That the date for consulting with Members on potential changes to the Constitution as indicated in the report from the Cabinet Member for Governance is moved from 18 December 2013 to 7 January 2014 to commence 13 January 2014 and end 24 January 2014 to give Members more time to input any suggestions in revising the Constitution.”
The Committee had established ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
STANDARDS WORKING GROUP RECOMMENDATIONS - Amendments to the Constitution