Agenda and draft minutes

Constitution Working Group - Tuesday, 12th December, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Arnold, Councillor J Kent and Councillor Worrall.


Items of Urgent Business


There were no items of urgent business.


Declarations of Interest


No interests were declared.


Finance Procedure Rules Update 'Report to Follow' pdf icon PDF 855 KB

Additional documents:


The Interim Director of Legal and Governance and Monitoring Officer confirmed that the meeting is not being live streamed as it is a working group but members of the public were welcome to come and observe the meeting.


The Head of Democratic Scrutiny and Member Services stated that on the 14 November 2023 CIPFA (The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) attended the Civic Offices. CIPFA has taken comments on board, re-worked the procedure rules and also included some of the comments from officers.


Madeleine Humphreys from CIPFA presented to the meeting the document ‘Changes to Financial Regulations since 14.11.23 MCWG Meeting’.


The following key points were highlighted: -


·       Members expressed concern that anything in the Finance Procedure Rules should be solely approved by the S151 Officer and they would not be happy with the CFO doing anything in isolation. The Chief Executive / Managing Director should also have to approve.

·       Madeleine confirmed the group had strong feelings about the financial limit of £500k for a key decision and therefore this remains the same for revenue and capital decisions. Although it can be reviewed annually as part of the budget setting process.

·       CIPFA wrote the guidance on Council owned companies, they are very thorough and easy for the council to see at a glance that everything is in place.

·       The meeting discussed memorandum of understanding was not sufficient on its own. The meeting discussed how a company is legally set up and that Articles of Association are required.

·       Members confirmed that the constitution needs to be very specific and not vague or open to interpretation.

·       Members requested the following amendment in relation to the Scheme of Delegation pg 2 2.4 and 2.5 – officers should have due regard to advice provided is replaced with officers must have due regard.

·       Members raised that on page 4 regarding Directorate delegation – there needs to a written record of who is delegated responsibility for doing something and specifically what they are delegated to do.

·       Members raised that in part 5 – in exceptional circumstances where it is commercially sensitive it states that consultation with members is not required. Members queried what happens when commissioners are no longer part of the picture. CIPFA responded that it was a good point which they did go backwards and forwards on however it can be taken out and the constitution should be reviewed annually and needs to keep pace with what is happening in Thurrock.

·       Members raised that the Council is in the position that it is because of that clause. Members suggested the information is shared with members but they are asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. There should be no commercially sensitive information that cannot be shared with members.

·       Members raised that ‘commercially sensitive’ was used by the previous Chief Executive a lot.

·       Members raised that even in an emergency there still needs to be a recording so it can be re-visited as a point of record.

·       Members referred to paragraph 5.1.and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.