Agenda item

Constitution Update Report - Charlotte Benjamin, Director of Legal and Governance Services, Monitoring Officer


The Deputy Monitoring Officer presented the report and advised the Committee that the Constitution was a live document that was continually updated.


The Committee were advised that occasionally amendments were needed to reflect changes in policy and legislation whilst others dealt with inconsistencies and presentational issues that had no effect on the agreed procedural rules. Other minor amendments were required to deal with the results of new legislation and did not require a change in Council processes.


Members heard that the changes to the Constitution fell within three broad areas, which were described as follows:-


    1. Alterations made as a result of decisions of either the Council or the Executive.


    1. Alterations made under the delegated powers given to the Monitoring Officer to deal with changes required as a result of legislative changes.


    1. Alterations to improve the working of the Council or, to attempt to resolve ambiguities or amend typographical or drafting errors.


The following amendments were proposed under paragraph (c)


a)     Standards Committee – Changes to the Terms of Reference


Terms of Reference - Standards Committee

Restrictions: Cannot include the Elected Mayor or Executive Leader   and may not be chaired by an Executive Member

To make reports or recommendations to the Council in relation to:-

·                  the approval by the Council of local codes of conduct for Members and officers, codes of practice, standing orders and protocols, taking account of national models and guidance or case tribunals.


·                 the implementation of local codes of conduct etc, and the dissemination throughout the Authority of information and guidance on their operation.


·                 consideration of any reports relating to the conduct of Members or officers which may be referred to it by the Council's Chair, Monitoring Officer or by the Chief Finance Officer under section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, including issues relating to Members' and officers' interests and the maintenance and management of any relevant registers of interests.


·                 consideration of relevant reports referred by the Monitoring Officer and Chief Finance Officer and make recommendations thereon to the Council as necessary.


       Grant dispensations to Councillors, Co-opted Members and Parish Council Members from the requirements relating to declarations of interest as set out in Section 32 of the Localism Act 2011. The Monitoring Officer may grant a dispensation where the matter is urgent and report it to the next available Standards Committee.


       The determination, following an investigation, of allegations of breaches of Members' Codes of Conduct within such statutory provisions or guidance as may exist and the imposing of any relevant sanctions.


       Discharge of all of the above functions required by the Localism Act 2011 in relation to Parish Councils.


b)     Revision of the Access to Information Procedure Rules


It is some years since the Access to Information Procedure Rules have been revised. A copy of the suggested revised version of the Access to Information Procedure Rules is attached at Appendix 1.


c)     Substitutions

Following a request from the Chair of the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee the committee are asked to consider a proposed amendment to the required notification period from 24 hours before the meeting as it currently appears in the Constitution to 3 hours before the meeting. This is a locally determined matter and therefore within the purview of the Council to amend.

AGREED as follows:-


a)     That the amendment to the Terms of Reference of the Standards Committee be approved and referred to full Council

b)     That the revised Access to Information Procedure Rules be approved and referred to full Council

c)     That more evidence be presented to the Constitution and Members’ Development Committee regarding how many meetings have been inquorate over the previous 2 years.  The committee will then determine if the amendment to the required notice period from 24 hours to 3 hours should be approved.

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