Agenda item

Constitutional amendments following the Council's decision to activate clause 8 of the Memorandum of Agreement between Breckland District Council and South Holland District Council and the associated designation of Statutory Officers; and the appointment of Proper Officers, and Virtual Meetings (Agenda item 9)

Report of Councillor Suggitt, Executive Member for Governance.


Members are asked to note that the ADDENDUM – DESIGNATION OF STATUTORY OFFICERS attached as a supplement to this report at page 97 of the agenda pack updates recommendation 3 of the report.


Paragraph 3.3 of the report at agenda item 9 refers to this addendum.



Councillor Suggitt, the Executive Member for Governance presented the report that covered the urgent matters that needed to be addressed following the termination of the Memorandum of Agreement between Breckland and South Holland District Councils.


The report dealt with the designation of the Head of Paid Service, the Monitoring Officer and the S151 Officer which were statutory posts and was a legislative requirement.


The names of the Officers designated to these posts had been highlighted on page 97 of the agenda pack.  The Proper Officer appointment had also been updated as certain post titles had been amended in the interim structure.


The reference to the joint arrangements would also be removed and a new Committee titled the “Shared Memorandum of Agreement Committee” had been appointed to deal solely with any disputes that could arise following the termination of the Agreement.


The report also dealt with the continued use of South Holland’s Independent person in specific circumstances.


A number of clerical errors had already been brought to the report author’s attention on pages 83, 75 and 95 of the agenda pack and these would be corrected accordingly.


It had also been prudent to consider virtual meetings as the Constitution would need to revert back to its previous version once the virtual meeting regulations came to an end.   


Any further amendments would be dealt with at a later date.


The Executive Member for Governance thanked the Legal Team for all their hard work in getting the report prepared for this Full Council meeting.  In normal circumstances this would have been a challenge, but she felt that it had been no mean feat to pull this together whilst working through the separation of the Councils itself.


The proposal to take the recommendations enbloc was seconded.


Before the vote was taken, Members were invited to ask questions.


Councillor Birt commented on the appointments being considered.  He felt that the S151 Officer had proved her worth and was happy for the said Officer to continue in this role, but the remainder of the job placements seemed to him a little odd and asked in the longer term if these positions would be advertised or reviewed going forward.


In response, the Leader advised that colleagues would be aware that when the Council appointed the Head of Paid Service it had been for a short-term fixed period and the individuals concerned already existed as Chief Officers.  The legislation as a Council required the designation of those relevant Officers to these posts and had been reflected in the recommendation. 


There was no recruitment process or appointment to these posts, and it was not necessary to go through the normal committee process. It was this Council’s duty to appoint such designations and those Chief Officers identified were the most suitable and as such had been brought forward to this Full Council meeting.


The Leader was sorry that Councillor Birt had not praised the other members of staff as he felt that all staff throughout the last 12 months had worked tremendously hard and he personally thanked Maxine O’Mahony and Rob Walker as both had ‘stepped up to the mark’ since the Chief Executive retired in September and had done a sterling job in leading Breckland Council, as the two Directors, supporting the Council’s performance throughout the whole of the pandemic whilst also going through the dismantling of a 10 year partnership.


The Chairman echoed the Leader’s thanks to all staff, she could not fault their support, their cheerfulness, their commitment and their loyalty to Breckland Council.


The Chairman advised that those Members who could support most of but not all the recommendations would be asked to indicate clearly which recommendations they supported and which recommendations they did not, and subject to 1 x vote against recommendation 3 and 2 x abstentions, it was:




1)          Following the decision by full Council at its meeting on 25 February 2021 to        terminate the Memorandum of Agreement entered into by Breckland District        Council and South Holland District Council and to approve an interim structure,        the Constitution be amended as follows on the date that such termination takes        effect:


(a)        reference to the Council's joint arrangements with South Holland District        Council be removed as detailed in Appendices A and B to this report;        and


(b)        a new Committee, called the "Shared Memorandum of Agreement      Committee", be appointed in order to deal with any disputes submitted      to it in accordance with sections 8(termination and review of joint      arrangements) or 11 (dispute resolution) of the Memorandum of      Agreement dated 1 April 2011, with terms of reference as detailed in      Appendix C to this report, and the Constitution be further amended to      take this into account, as also shown in Appendix C; and


(c)        the Service Manager for legal services be identified as the Senior Legal      Officer within the glossary of terms; and


(2)       Until such time as it is possible for the Council to appoint a further independent      person for the purposes of attending any committee that considers the      proposed dismissal of the Head of the Paid Service, Monitoring Officer, or the      Section 151 Officer, the Council continue to use the independent person      appointed by South Holland District Council, as reflected in Appendix B to this      report; and


Amended Recommendation (3):


(3)        The following statutory designations be formally made to apply with effect from      the date of termination of the existing shared arrangements:


     ·          Head of Paid Service - Maxine O'Mahony

     ·          Monitoring Officer - Rob Walker

     ·          Section 151 Officer - Alison Chubbock


            and the glossary of terms (relating to staff) be amended accordingly.


(4)       The existing Proper Officer appointments be amended as shown in the final      column of the table at Appendix D; and


(5)       Rule 6.2.1(j) of the Contract Procedure Rules be amended to refer to the      Senior Legal Officer in place of the Executive Manager Governance; and


(6)       With the exception of Standing Order no. 14.1 which will remain, the      amendments to the Council's Standing Orders and Access to Information      Procedure Rules approved by full Council at its meeting on 22 July 2020 to      allow virtual meetings to be held remain within the Constitution unless and until      (if applicable) the law is clear that virtual meetings can no longer lawfully be      held, at which time the Senior Legal Officer be authorised to remove such      amendments from the Constitution without the need for a further report. 

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