Agenda item

Amendments to the Constitution


The report presented to Members set out the background and discussions of the recent review of the constitution by the Constitution Working Group and recommended that those findings be presented to Council on the 29 June 2022. The Constitution Working Group would meet again in August 2022 to discuss the next stages.


Councillor Worrall referred to the second row of the box displayed on page 88 and questioned why “and Finance” had been strikethrough. Members would be updated once clarification had been sought from the contracts team.


Councillor Gledhill referred to the paragraphs dealing with the cancellation or arrangement of extraordinary meetings and asked that “he/she – his/her” be amended to reflect a more specific title.


Councillor J Kent commented that the Constitution Working Group had undertaken a good job and had not disagreed with anything in the report to be taken forward. Councillor J Kent stated it would have been useful this evening to have had sight of the Corporate Peer Report to see how the changes and recommendations would be scrutinised. Councillor J Kent also referred to the issue of the security of member emails and elected members needed to be told, when possible, that their emails were being looked at. Those rights should be in the constitution and should form part of the next set of work of the Constitution Working Group and report back to this committee at a later stage. Councillor Gledhill seconded Councillor J Kent comment and stated the rules should be in place to notify members and be signed off similarly to the ED2 process.


Councillor Worrall stated more information would be required for her to participate in the next meeting planned for August 2022. The next stages of the work being undertaken by the Constitution Working Group would need to look at the different committee structures, reports to be presented at the right time and needed to have sight of the scrutiny report rather than the action plan. Councillor Worrall suggested to aid with the modelling process a visit to Southend on Sea Council would be a good idea to watch their members and speak with committee chairs.


Councillor Massey generally agreed with the report and the positive work being undertaken and for the need for email privacy.


Councillor Gledhill thanked officers for the report and with a few points to pick up, members agreed the recommendations.




1.        General Services Committee recommended that Full Council:


           Agree or note (where the amendment is a consequential amendment) the amendments supported by the Constitution Working Group listed at numbers 1 to 17 in Appendix 1, namely to:


Procedure Rules: (a) Remove Portfolio Holder reports from Full Council and give Overview and Scrutiny Committees the role of receiving these reports. (b) Allow Portfolio Holders/relevant committee Chair to acknowledge a petition upon presentation at Council. (c) Extend the time for Member Questions at Full Council to 45 minutes. Page 9 Agenda Item 5. (d) Clarify rules so that the Mayor or Chair of committee agrees to call extraordinary meetings in consultation with relevant officers. (e) Record all votes at Full Council in order that numbers for and against can be recorded. (f) Extend Full Council guillotine by 30 minutes. (g) Extend the time for speeches on Motions by 1 minute. (h) Extend the time allowed for someone to present a petition to 3 minutes. (i) Establish an annual dedicated ‘Opening of the Municipal Year’ debate at June’s Full Council meeting with the debate for the 2022/23 year being scheduled for the meeting in July 2022. (j) Clarify rules so that the Mayor or Chair of Committee agrees to cancel a meeting in consultation with relevant officers. (k) Formalise the process whereby, upon formal and timely notice, a different Member to the one who submitted a motion to Full Council can propose it at the meeting. (l) Remove the annual report from Youth Cabinet to Full Council as it is covered annually at Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


Licensing: (m) Remove Licensing Committee powers relating to alcohol under Section 13 Criminal Justice Act 2001. (This is a consequential amendment). (n) Amend appointment of Vice Chair and Chair of Licensing Sub-Committees so that they can be appointed at the meeting. (o) Remove Licensing Committee powers relating to Part 1 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and transfer them to the General Services Committee.


Contracts: (p) Refresh Contract Procedure Rules (this is a consequential amendment) Page 10 Overview and Scrutiny. (q) Remove Councillor Calls for Action as a standing item on O&S agendas.


2.        Noted that five suggested amendments, set out at numbers 18 to 22 in Appendix 1, will be brought to Full Council at a later date for decision if required.


3.        Agreed the actions to be taken in relation to suggestions 23 to 32 of Appendix 1, with the understanding Suggestion 27 will return to Constitution Working Group for further discussion


At 7.20pm the committee agreed to enter into exempt session in order to discuss the personal details of applicants.


At 7.20pm, Councillor J Kent and Councillor Worrall left the meeting.


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