Agenda item

11/107 - Revisions to the Constitution

Minutes:

Council considered this item. Cllr Fox proposed that council agree to the recommendations but with and amendment to the time between nominations for Leader and the full council meeting. The Head of Legal and Support Services, Mr Anderson stated that there could now only be 1 day from nominations to the council meeting. Therefore the number of days stated in the constitution would need to be reduced. Mr Anderson also stated that on page 175 that was a typographical error in that the paragraph relating to the delegation of responsibilities to the Head of Finance and Asset Management. The sentence “The administration of Council tax mandatory and discretionary relief, within approved Council policy” should read “The administration of mandatory and discretionary business rates relief, within approved Council policy.”

Cllr Dixon asked for clarification of how the changes to the dates of the council meetings would work as nominees could circulate a statement prior to the meeting. He asked if there would be time to circulate this statement before the council meeting.

Mr Anderson indicated that any nominations and statements would have to be received and circulated on the day before the Council meeting which was set for the Tuesday. Cllr Fox stated that these were the time constraints that the council had to work with and that councillors who were thinking of standing for election as Leader should be writing their statement now.

Council agreed to the proposed amendments allowing for receipt and circulation of nominations the day before the Council meeting to appoint the Leader and the proposed changes to the delegation to the Head of Finance and Asset Management.

RESOLVED that

The following Changes to the Constitution be approved to provide for the situation following the reduction in Heads of Service (with effect from 1 April 2011) and the May 2011 election:

(a)               The amendments to the Council Procedure Rules relating to the appointment of the Leader identified at Appendix 1 of the report be approved, but amended to allow for the receipt and circulation of nominations the day before the Council meeting to appoint the Leader;

(b)               the amendments to Article 7 relating to the role of the Executive identified at Appendix 2 of the report be approved;

(c)               the amendments to the Scheme of Delegation to Individual Cabinet Members (Schedule 2) and the Scheme of Delegation to Officers (Schedule 3) identified at Appendix 3 of the report be approved (with effect from 1 April 2011), with the delegation to the Head of Finance and Asset Management at Appendix 3 amended to refer to mandatory business rate relief rather than council tax relief;

(d)               the consequential and clarifying amendments to Articles 4 and 8, and 10 at Appendix 4 of the report be approved;

(e)               the amendments to the Access to Information Rules at Appendix 5 of the report relating to the management of exempt information be approved;

(f)                 the amendments to the Additional Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Area Committee Rules identified at Appendix 6 of the report be approved; and

(g)               the introduction of the External Appointments protocol identified at Appendix 7 of the report be approved.

Reasons:

1.         The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 required local authorities to introduce the strong leader model of Local Government for the May 2011 election.  This requires a number of amendments to the Constitution.

2.         A reduction in the number of Heads of Service has been agreed with effect from 1 April, this requires amendments to be made to the scheme of delegation to officers from that date.

3.         The Southern Area Committee has given support to an arrangement under which its functions are delegated to the Southern cluster of Parish Councils and Eastfield Parish Council.

4.         A separate report on the agenda proposes the adoption of the amended provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 relating to the licensing of Sexual Entertainment Venues.  This requires amendment to the Constitution and the opportunity has been taken to tidy other provisions within the delegations to Regulatory Committees.

5.         Concerns in relation to the breach of confidentiality by Members of Council has led to proposals for improvements to the management of Council papers.

6.         Improvements have been made to the governance of the Council’s relationships with its external partners over the last two years.  It is proposed to improve the appointments process for external bodies to enhance this process.

Supporting documents: