Constitution - variations (Agenda item 13)
- Meeting of Council, Thursday, 8th July, 2021 10.00 am (Item 76/21)
- View the background to item 76/21
Report of Councillor Ian Sherwood, Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance.
Members are asked to note that this report was discussed at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting on Thursday, 24 June 2021 and subject to a number of minor amendments was recommended to Full Council accordingly.
Councillor Ian Sherwood, the Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance presented the report.
It was noted that this report had already been discussed at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting on Thursday, 24 June 2021, and subject to a number of minor amendments that had been incorporated in this report, the amendments had been recommended to Full Council for approval.
The Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance thanked the Governance & Audit Committee Members for their review and input it had been most helpful.
The Constitution must be reviewed regularly by the Monitoring officer to ensure that it remained fit for purpose and this report detailed amendments that were currently deemed appropriate. The first few amendments followed on from the separation with South Holland District Council and the restructure that followed and the glossary of terms relating to staff and references to Senior Officers had to be amended accordingly.
The remaining variations to the Constitution were highlighted.
The recommendations were proposed and seconded.
Councillor Birt had also attended the Governance & Audit Committee meeting where he had raised a number of concerns. These concerns related to the definition of a ‘Special’ meeting and reminded Members of such a meeting that had taken place in October 2020. The disclosure of documents ahead of that ‘Special’ meeting had not been sent within the normal statutory timeframe and was matter of concern. He had queried at the time whether there was such a thing as a ‘Special’ meeting, and he had received a very confused response. According to the 1972 Local Government Act, there were three types of meeting – an annual meeting, an ordinary meeting and an extraordinary meeting and it was very clearly defined as to how these should work. He did recognise that there could be a place for a ‘Special’ meeting but such meetings, in his opinion, should not be making any decisions. That was where his concern lied as the parameters had not been defined as to what a ‘Special’ meeting was.
The Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance reminded Members that the Constitution was reviewed regularly, and a further review was already underway. This would be an ideal opportunity for Members to put forward and consider any further issues or concerns.
The recommendations were taken enbloc, and subject to 4 x votes against the recommendations and 2 x abstentions, it was
1) With a view to reducing the necessity for multiple Constitutional amendments following any future structure reviews, the following generic definitions be added to the Glossary of Terms (Definitions relating to Staff):
· "Directors" means tier 2 officers (immediately below the post of Chief Executive whether or not a Chief Executive is actually in post). Currently the Executive Directors
· "Assistant Directors" means tier 3 officers (immediately below the Directors). Currently, the Assistant Directors
· "Service Managers" means tier 4 officers (immediately below the Assistant Directors) who manage each service unit. Currently the Service Managers.
(2) All references to "Executive Directors(s)" within the Constitution be amended to read "Director(s)"; and
(3) All references to "Executive Manager(s)" within the Constitution be amended to read "Assistant Director(s)"; and
(4) All references to "Senior Managers" within the Constitution be amended to read "Service Manager(s)"; and
(5) For clarification, the following definitions be added to the Glossary of Terms (Definitions relating to Staff):
· "Electoral Registration Officer" means the officer appointed under section 8 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The Electoral Registration Officer is currently [name] the [post]
·"Returning Officer" means the officer appointed under section 35 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The Electoral Registration Officer is currently [name] the [post].
6) The Constitution be amended so as to clarify the circumstances in which the Monitoring Officer and/or the Senior Legal Officer may amend the Constitution, as detailed in Appendix A; and
(7) The statutory officer references at paragraph 1.4 of Article 11 of the Constitution be amended in accordance with the details included in Appendix B to this report; and
(8) The Heading to Part 3 Section F4 be amended to read as follows:
Delegations to the Senior Legal officer, Solicitor to the
Council and the
Legal Services Manager responsible
for legal services
(9) The Heading to Part 3 Section F5 be amended to read as follows:
Delegations to the
Executive Manager Growth
responsible for strategic growth
(10) The Constitution be amended to clarify the four types of full Council meetings in accordance with the details shown at Appendix C of this report; and
(11) Standing Order No. 29 (conflict between Council and Executive) be deleted as the issue is repeated more fully in Standing Order no. 63 and 64, and that Standing Order no. 29A be renumbered No. 29; and
12) The Constitution be amended so as to add reference to a statutory Standing Order relating to independent persons, as detailed in Appendix D; and
(13) Paragraphs (e) and (f) of terms of reference number 3 of the full Council at Part 3 of the Constitution be deleted; and
(14) The Financial Procedure Rules be amended as shown in Appendix E; and
(15) All references in the Financial Procedure Rules to “EMT”, “Executive Management team”, and “Corporate Management team” be standardised to refer to the “Corporate Management Team” and that the following definition be added to the “Glossary of Terms – Definitions relating to staff”:
“Corporate Management Team – comprises the Chief Executive, Executive Directors and Assistant Directors.”
(16) The minor changes made by the Monitoring Officer detailed in paragraph 4 be approved.