Agenda and minutes

General Services Committee - Thursday, 17th October, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex RM17 6SL

Contact: Matthew Boulter, Democratic & Governance Services Manager and Deputy Monitoring Officer  Email:

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of General Services Committee meeting held on 7 October 2019.



The minutes of the General Services Committee held on the 7 October 2019 were agreed as a correct record.


Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


There were no items of urgent business.


Declarations of Interests


There were no declarations of interest.


Review of Constitution and Process pdf icon PDF 85 KB


Councillor Hebb introduced the report on behalf of the Leader. The report considered the current processes in place for the recruitment and appointment of Directors and Assistant Directors and other elements of the constitution, recommending changes to current arrangements to improve transparency and democratic engagement whilst maintaining the integrity of the role and responsibilities of the Head of Paid Service. Councillor Hebb briefed Members on each of the recommendations and confirmed that those agreed which impacted on the constitution would be presented to Full Council.


Members discussed the recruitment of a Political Assistant with Councillor Spillman stated this post appeared to be extravagant and the money could be better spent on frontline services. Councillor Coxshall commented the post was invaluable to ensure policy advice be given to Members that could not be provided by Officers. Councillor Pothecary stated that further information would be required on this post and opinions should be canvassed amongst Members. Councillor Hebb stated the post would be a good resource to Members which would enable policy information and support to be provided.


Councillor Pothecary stated she was heartened the report had come to General Services Committee which was a positive way forward to ensure the involvement and engagement of all Members.


Councillor Pothecary questioned whether the Review of Scrutiny being undertaken by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee would feed into these constitution changes. The Chief Executive stated the report was being undertaken as part of public scrutiny and engagement which would not affect the decisions being made this evening. Councillor Pothecary agreed that both items should be considered separately.


Councillor Spillman welcomed the changes in the report but questioned whether time should be shortened on portfolio holder presentations which would allow more time for questions.


Members agreed that recommendation 1.2.3 should be deferred to enable further discussions to take place at Governance Group and then at General Services Committee.


Members agreed to vote en-bloc on recommendations 1.1 to 1.2.2.




1.1          General Services Committee recommend to Full Council the following amendments to the constitution:


1.1.1    The appointment of all Directors and Assistant Directors on a permanent, interim or acting up basis, be carried out by the General Services Committee;

1.1.2    The appointment of all permanent Directors and Assistant Directors then be ratified at a meeting of the Full Council;

1.1.3    All formal non-minor (1) restructure, permanent or temporary, that impacts on the line management or breadth of responsibility of any Director or Assistant Director, and (2) any role title change to Director or Assistant Director, be notified to members of the General Services Committee for early engagement;

1.1.4    Formal recognition of the Shadow Cabinet from the largest opposition group – including the right to ask the first three questions of the Portfolio Holders on their annual reports;

1.1.5    Amend the time allocated for the presentation of the Portfolio Holders’ annual reports to Council to twenty minutes with a limit of seven minutes in total to cover both the introduction and summing up by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.