Agenda item

Constitution - non-key officer decisions/SIRO/licensing (Agenda item 8)

Report by Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member, Governance.



The Executive Manager for Governance presented the report.


The Governance & Audit Committee had authority, within their terms of reference, to consider any changes to the Council’s Constitution before being presented Full Council for final approval. As a key proposed change related to call-in, the Overview and Scrutiny Commission would also be consulted in due course.


Most of the changes were relatively minor but the first and most substantial one was the matter relating to call-in.


Members were informed that in 2012, new Regulations required all executive decisions taken by Officers under delegated powers to be published unless they were minor or administrative in nature.  Prior to 2012, only Officer key decisions had, by law, to be published.


The intention of these Regulations was for openness and transparency ensuring that when an Officer made a decision that was executive in nature, it was published so that Members and members of the public were aware.   However, Breckland’s Constitution had been worded in such a way that any published executive decisions were subject to call-in. This meant that, by accident rather than design, many relatively minor Officer decisions were now subject to call-in.


If call-in was removed from such decisions, they would still be subject to scrutiny by the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, where decision-makers could be held to account, but they would not be subject to the current delay of five clear working days whilst Officers waited to see if the decision was called in.


Cllr Kybird raised the following points:


·        Page 21 - Appendix B section 1– (D) – Animal Welfare – should be (E)

·        Page 21 - Appendix B section 2 – functions Health & Safety – re H&S 1974 the words in brackets (as amended) should be included.

·        Page 22 – Appendix C - paragraph 22.22 there were 4 clauses that could cause that clause to come into action, but it was not clear whether they were ‘either’ or ‘and’ clauses and this should be clarified.

·        Page 24 - Appendix E - section 56.1 (All Council Members) advises that the Chief Executive should write to the Member:

1.                Did it have to be the Chief Executive

2.                Should the word ‘should’ become ‘shall’.

The Executive Manager for Governance felt that these were all reasonable points and would be reviewed prior to taking the report to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission and then onto Full Council.


Cllr Clarke said that he would be happy to contact the Executive Director of Governance outside of the meeting in respect of his concerns.  He appreciated the need for speed and for not ‘clogging up’ the areas when making an Officer decision and asked how many decisions had been called-in over the last 2 years. 


The Executive Manager for Governance could only recall one call-in, and this had not related to an Officer decision.  He advised that the vast majority of decisions were not called in and that there was an inbuilt delay of 5 clear working days.


The Chairman queried Appendix A, paragraph 7 as he felt that this was unclear. The Executive Manager agreed and would review the wording before the report progressed to Council.


As there were no further comments in respect of the remaining variations to the Constitution, it was proposed and RESOLVED that subject to the aforementioned amendments, the recommendations as listed be agreed.


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