Agenda item

General Purposes Committee (Agenda item 23)

Report of Councillor Ian Sherwood, Executive Member for People, Communications and Governance and Rob Walker, Executive Director & Monitoring Officer.


Rob Walker, the Monitoring Officer presented the report.


The report sought Members’ agreement to re-establish the General Purposes Committee.  For those Members who formed part of the Council pre-2016, this Committee would have been a familiar part of the democratic structure at Breckland.


There was a whole range of functions and constitutional changed detailed in the body of the report and the intention of the General Purposes Committee was to look at Member related training, staffing training and staffing issues as the organisation developed and evolved over the forthcoming years.


As part of the proposals, the Member Development Panel would be decommissioned, and the work subsumed by the General Purposes Committee.  It would deal with all staffing issues except for those functions under the Appointment & Disciplinary Committee.


Details of the size and composition of the Committee could be found at sections 2.11 and 2.12 of the report.


Councillor Ian Sherwood, the Executive Member for People, Communications & Governance and the Portfolio Holder for Democratic Services and Legal Services proposed and read aloud the 7 recommendations which were duly seconded.


Councillor Gilbert supported the recommendations as he felt that it was an upgrade of the Member Development Panel, which in his opinion, had lower status than a committee and this General Purposes Committee now formed part of the committee structure which would be reporting to Full Council.  He hoped that this would encourage more Members to get involved in the Member training programme.


Following a unanimous vote in favour of the recommendations, it was:




  1. the General Purposes Committee be re-established with immediate effect as follows:


(a) the Committee be given full powers to (i) determine all issues relating to member and staff training (i.e. the former duties of the Member Development Panel), and (ii) undertake the following functions as described in Schedule 1 of the Local Authorities (Functions and Responsibilities) (England) Regulations 2000 (provided they are within budget and except where any function must specifically be undertaken by Full Council):


·                      functions relating to health and safety at work

·                      functions relating to elections;

·                      functions relating to community governance;

·                      amending, revoking, re-enacting, or enforcing byelaws; functions relating to smoke free premises;

·                     functions relating to pensions;

·                     appointment of staff and determination of terms and conditions on which they hold office (including procedures for dismissal) – (this will include service reviews, appointment of staff, provision of staff for HOPS, MO and any person nominated by MO, and staffing policies that relate in any way to terms and conditions of employment including redundancy, early retirement, and discretionary compensation, but excluding those staffing issues delegated to the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee);

·                     power to make payments or provide other benefits in cases of maladministration, etc.;

·                     Alcohol Designated Public Places;

·                     Alcohol Disorder Zones.


(b)     the Committee comprise 6 members, allocated in accordance with political group regulations


(c)     the quorum be 3


(d)     substitute members be permitted, with 1 substitute member nominated by each group


  1. in accordance with Standing Order no. 34 the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the General Purposes Committee be elected;


  1. the draft amended Standing Order 30 shown at Appendix A be approved and adopted to include reference to substitute members;


  1. the Independent Remuneration Panel be requested to submit, if possible, a recommendation regarding a chairman’s allowance to the annual Council meeting in May 2022. If this is not possible any allowance be backdated to the date on which the Committee first meets, pro rata;


  1. initially, meetings be scheduled on a quarterly basis, with additional meetings arranged if required;


  1. the Member Development Panel is decommissioned, and its duties are inherited by the newly formed General Purposes Committee;


  1. the proposed variations to the Constitution detailed in Appendix B be approved.

Supporting documents: