Agenda item

Update to the Constitution


A report was submitted by the Executive Member for Finance and Governance and Director of Legal and Governance Services and Monitoring Officer regarding an update to the Council Constitution.


The Executive Member for Finance and Governance advised that at the last meeting of Full Council, the Update to the Constitution Report was deferred due to concerns raised by Members that the Monitoring Officer was able to make minor amendments to rectify typing errors, name changes etc, or where there were legislative requirements to the Constitution, without member approval.


The Constitution and Members’ Development Committee held on 15 June 2022, proposed to amend the current Monitoring Officer delegation to read;


“Minor amendments may be made by the Monitoring Officer in conjunction with the Chair of the Council and the Executive Member for Finance and Governance, to ensure that the Constitution complies with all relevant legislation, together with such other amendments as the Monitoring Officer may be authorised to make by Council”.


The following amendments to the Council Procedure Rules were proposed:


Council Procedure Rules


Recorded vote


Amendment to Paragraph 65 of the Council Procedure Rules


If 12 councillors present at the meeting demand it, or if a motion related to a decision regarding the approval of the annual budget, the council tax or the issuing of the precept, the names for and against the motion or amendment or abstaining from voting will be recorded and entered into the minutes. A demand for a recorded vote will override a demand for a secret ballot (which can be used when voting for positions on committees).


Cancellation of Council Meetings


Amendment to Paragraph 12 of the Council Procedure Rules


In order to provide clarity, it was proposed that the text regarding Paragraph 12 –

Cancellation of Meetings, of the Council Procedure Rules be amended to include:


Once the proper officer has given notice and summons of a meeting, the Chair, or the Vice Chair in the Chair’s absence, (or the Monitoring Officer if they are satisfied that there is no appropriate business to be considered at the meeting), can postpone, re-arrange, or cancel a meeting of Council, provided:


(a) twenty-four hours-notice of the cancellation of the meeting is given; and

(b) that the reason for cancellation is given.


Chairs, or Vice-Chairs in the Chair’s absence, of the relevant committee can postpone, re-arrange, or cancel meetings of a committee. A meeting of the Council or its committees or sub-committees may not be cancelled or postponed after the meeting has been duly convened.


Inclusion of Group Leader Role Profiles within the Constitution


The Group Leader Role Profile (appendix 1) to be included in the Council’s

Constitution at Part 6 – Codes and Protocols.


Replacement of Senior Management Chart


The updated version of the Senior Management Chart should be inserted into the Constitution at Part 5 – Management Structure.


Key Decision Threshold


For clarification purposes, the amount of the key decision threshold, £150,000

(taking into account the lifetime costs or savings of the project), had been included within the Constitution at Article 12 - Paragraph 12.3 – Decision Making.


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 the above functions required by the Localism Act 2011 in

relation to Parish Councils.


Access to Information Rules


The revised Access to Information Procedure Rules be approved and included in the Constitution.



The Officer Employment Procedure Rules


The Council previously approved the changes highlighted below to the Terms

of Reference of the Chief Officer Appointments Committee, however these

changes should also be reflected in the Officer Employment Procedure rules

which also form part of the Constitution.


The provision for the Chief Executive to agree Interim appointments of

Directors for up to six months was already included under the Chief Officer

Appointment Committee Terms of Reference but needed to be replicated in

the Officer Employment Procedure Rules. The changes to the Officer

Employment Procedure Rules were outlined in bold.


Appointment of Executive/Strategic/Assistant Directors, Monitoring Officer,

and Chief Finance Officer


(a) The appointment of Executive/Strategic/Assistant Directors, the Monitoring

Officer, and the Chief Finance Officer will be made by the committee referred

to in Rule 3 above, unless the appointment is on an interim basis (6

months or less).


(b) Interim appointments of Directors, for 6 months or less are delegated

to the Head of Paid Service. Longer and permanent appointments to be

reserved to the Chief Officer Appointments Committee.


(c) An offer of employment to these posts shall only be made where no well-founded objection has been received from any member of the Executive.

Following a vote, it was ORDERED as follows:


That Council approve the following:


(a) The proposed changes to the Constitution as detailed above and

notes that the Monitoring Officer would, under delegated powers, amend the

Constitution accordingly.


(b) The current Monitoring Officer delegation be amended so that any changes to

the Constitution would be made by the Monitoring Officer in conjunction with the

Chair of the Council and the Executive Member for Finance and Governance.

Supporting documents: