Review and Revision of the Constitution
To consider report LD.409 relating to revisions to the constitution.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Patrick Molyneux, presented report LD.409, and gave a detailed overview of proposed changes to the council’s Constitution, following consideration by the Constitution Working Group on 27 March 2012. The Leader said that the working group had considered the following recommendations at that meeting: -
a) New Contract Procedure Rules
b) Delete all references to the Chief Executive Post and substitute with a Head of paid Service Post
c) Update the council’s scrutiny procedure rule and definition of a key decision
d) Changes to the voting system at Development Control Committee meetings
e) Change of name of the Development Control Committee
f) Update the Code of Conduct for members and officers dealing with planning matters
g) The term of office for independent members of the council’s Standards Committee and Audit Committee
h) Allow video recordings of full council meetings to be published on the councils’ website.
The Leader said that the proposal to change the council’s contract procedure rules had transpired from its decision to enter into the GO Shared Services Partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council, and the need to apply a common set of working practices and procedures from which each authority could work more effectively. With regard to the change to the Chief Executive post, the Leader said that the council had already achieved significant savings from deletion of this post and that the change had been introduced to reflect the new management structure. Referring to the proposed name change of the Development Control Committee, the Leader said that the proposal had arisen following the recent adoption of the Development Management Charter. He said that, at the Constitution Working Group meeting in March, the general consensus had been that the name of the committee was possibly better suited to ‘Planning Committee’, and therefore the recommendation had been amended to reflect this proposal. With regard to the recommendation to invest in a video recording system for the recording of council meetings, the Leader said that the Constitution Working Group had resolved not to progress this proposal due to the indicative costs involved at the present time. The Leader said that it might be possible to revisit this proposal in the future.
Councillor Bruce Hogan believed the proposal to change the name of the Development Control Committee could be misleading and that references to ‘Planning Committee’ might give an inflated notion about the role of the committee. Councillor Hogan said that he would not, however, be voting against or amend the proposal.
Responding to questions, Councillor Molyneux said that the new contract procedure rules would be adopted by each of the authorities involved in the GO Shared Services Partnership and that he was confident the new rules would effectively address the concerns that had been raised by the Audit Committee. In response to a question from Councillor Birch, regarding the future of the Standards Committee, the Group Manager for Legal and Democratic, Marie Rosenthal, said that the matter would be considered at the Constitution Working Group meeting on 2 May 2012 and that the final decision would be a matter for full council to consider.
Councillor Patrick Molyneux moved that the changes proposed at the meeting be approved and Councillor Terry Hale seconded the motion. A recorded vote was taken and members,
a) To substitute the New Contract Procedure Rules for Chapter 6, Part IV of the Constitution
b) That the Audit Committee should receive a regular annual report detailing any waivers of the Contract Procedure Rules and assess the effectiveness of the new rules after the first year of operation
c) To note the deletion of all references in the Constitution to a Chief Executive Post with the substitution of the Head of Paid Service post
d) To update the Council Procedure Rules by adding a new paragraph B11 as detailed in 4.3 of report LD.409 and update the definition of ‘key decision’ in line with the statutory definitions
e) To delete Rule D17(b) in Part 4 Section D (Procedures at Meetings generally) which relates to voting at Development Control Committee
f) To change the name of the Development Control Committee to the Planning Committee
g) To update the Code of Conduct for Members and officers dealing with planning matters as detailed in Annex B in line with the new rules on predetermination in the Localism Act 2011
h) To extend the terms of office of the independent members of the Standards Committee, Audit Committee and Independent Remuneration Panel, as detailed in section 8 of report LD.409
Councillors, Frank Baynham, James Bevan, Roy Birch, Jim Connell, Gethyn Davies, Judy Davis, Peter Ede, Brian Edwards, Diana Edwards, Clive Elsmore, Bill Evans, Frankie Evans, Jackie Fraser, Julia Gooch, Terry Hale, Val Hobman, Jane Horne (Vice chairman), Brian Jones, Gabriella Kirkpatrick, Len Lawton, Di Martin, Patrick Molyneux, Graham Morgan, Bernie O'Neill, Bill Osborne, Don Pugh, Martin Quaile, Brian Robinson, Marrilyn Smart OBE, Lynn Sterry, Roger Sterry, Helen Stewart, Arthur Thomas, David Thomson, Ian Whitburn, Marion Winship and Roger Yeates
Abstentions (1) Councillor Bruce Hogan