Agenda and minutes

Constitution and Members' Development Committee - Friday 26th February, 2021 3.00 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting

Contact: Caroline Breheny 

No. Item


Minutes - Constitution and Members' Development Committee - 23 October 2020 pdf icon PDF 119 KB


The minutes of the Constitution and Members’ Development Committee held on 23 October 2020 were approved as an accurate record.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations made at this point in the meeting.


Update - Council Constitution pdf icon PDF 890 KB


The Director of Legal and Democratic Services presented the report and advised the Committee and Members of the public watching the broadcast that the Constitution was a live document that was continually updated. There were six points that would be subject to discussion at today’s meeting namely; motions of no confidence, voting on appointments at committees, the provision of information for scrutiny chairs and members, motions generally, a proposed notice of motion form and timescales for amendments to motions. 


In respect of motions of no confidence the Committee was advised that the constitution was currently silent on motions of no confidence. This did not mean that motions of no confidence could not be brought, as a motion of no confidence could be treated as a general motion. However, the provisions within the constitution in relation to motions currently stated that any motion that referred to an individual’s character or conduct was prohibited. Therefore there was a need for the Committee to consider whether it wished for the Constitution to include provision for motions of no confidence to be brought in relation to an individual’s character or conduct. Any motions that were deemed to be defamatory or vexatious would remain invalid. 


It was advised that the report contained a number of suggestions in relation to behaviour that could lead to a motion of no confidence being brought and it was for the Committee to determine whether it wished for this criteria to be included in the Constitution. The Monitoring Officer advised exercising caution about – how much the Committee wished to accept and how much the Committee felt it was appropriate. The impact of a motion of no confidence also varied depending on whom it was brought. For example, the Mayor could not be removed by a motion of no confidence and if a motion of no confidence was brought against an Executive Member and approved by Full Council that Executive Member could only be removed by the Mayor.


The Committee was advised that a motion of no confidence in a Chair could be brought at a Committee, the Committee would then vote on that motion and if it was approved it would then be referred to full Council. Full Council would vote on the motion of no confidence and if approved the Chair would be removed from post and a new Chair appointed by Full Council. 


Members discussed the merits of including examples within the Constitution and the view was expressed that these should not be included. Instead anyone wishing to bring a motion of no confidence should be advised to seek guidance from the Monitoring Officer / Deputy Monitoring Officers.


In respect of voting on appointments at committee it was advised that Full Council had recommended that the Committee consider the legal position as to whether Executive members could participate in voting at the Council AGM with regard to Scrutiny/Audit Committee appointments and a report on the outcome be brought back to Full Council. It was advised that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/7


Terms of Reference - Verbal update


The Principal Democratic Services Officer advised that a request had been received for Corporate Health and Safety to report directly to Corporate Affairs and Audit. Currently the Corporate Health and Safety Committee is an advisory committee to Council, in some respects it would seem appropriate to become a working group of Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee. It was advised that any such proposal would have to be submitted to full Council for approval. In practical terms it avoids the overlap of the Committees undertake. Another option would be clarify the terms of reference of the Corporate Health and Safety Committee. The view was expressed that this would need to be discussed by the Corporate Health and Safety Committee, as the Membership involved the Unions and further discussion would be needed.


AGREED that further consideration be given to the request for Corporate Health and Safety to report directly to Corporate Affairs and Audit.



Any of other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.


Date of next meeting - 12 March 2021


The Chair advised that the meeting scheduled for 12 March 2021 would be rearranged for a later date.