Venue: Walton Suite, Guildhall, Winchester
Contact: Claire Buchanan, Senior Democratic Services Officer Tel: 01962 848 438 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: This meeting was adjourned at 9.45pm and will reconvene on Wednesday 27 February 2019 at 6.30pm
Disclosures of Interests
To receive any disclosure of interests from Members and Officers in matters to be discussed.
Note: Councillors are reminded of their obligations to declare disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and/or prejudicial interests in accordance with legislation and the Council’s Code of Conduct.
If you require advice, please contact the appropriate Democratic Services Officer, prior to the meeting.
Although not a declaration of interest, Councillors Learney and Thompson indicated that they were both members of the Constitution Working Group. Councillor Tod had also attended one meeting.
The Chairman announced that both Committees should raise any detailed points of principle during the meeting. Any matters related to spelling, grammar and formatting should be raised outside of the meeting with the Monitoring Officer.
The Chairman referred to the agreed procedure that the meeting would follow. Accordingly the meeting adjourned to allow for there to be a joint, informal discussion and debate with the Audit Committee. This was to take place in the following sequence:
1. Officer presentation on new Constitution
2. Question and Answers (from members of both Committees)
3. Public Participation (for public and Members not on either Committee).
There would then be an informal debate.
The minutes of the informal discussion and debate are set out in an annex to these minutes
Accordingly, following the formal opening and adjournment of the Audit Committee, the Committee formally opened its meeting at 6.45pm and adjourned at 6.52pm.
(Ref OS224 Officer Report & Constitution to Follow)
1. Officer presentation on new Constitution
2. Questions and Answers (from members of The Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Audit Committee)
3. Public Participation (for the public and Members not on The Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Audit Committee)
4. Informal Debate (for both The Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Audit Committee)
THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE AND AUDIT COMMITTEE
INFORMAL DISCUSSION AND DEBATE
19 February 2019
(adjourned, then reconvened 27 February 2019)
1. Councillor Cutler (Chairman of the Audit Committee) announced that he would chair the informal discussion and debate and Councillor Learney (Chairman of The Overview and Scrutiny Committee) would be vice chairman.
Councillor Horrill was also present as Leader and to respond to discussion.
The Head of Legal Services (Interim) introduced the report and highlighted some of the significant changes when compared to the existing constitution. These included:
· Changes in Article 13, including to decision making structures and definitions (i.e. operational and significant decisions).
· The scheme of delegation to officers had been ‘modernised’ and was in line with other Councils.
· Changes to Financial and Contract Procedure Rules so in line with legislation and to help facilitate speedier decision making.
· Amendments to Regulatory Committees, specifically the Development Management Committee (additional changes were to be made with regard to parish council referrals as had bene originally proposed).
· A new Audit and Governance Committee proposed, which would now additionally deal with Standards and Personnel matters.
· Amendments to Code of Conduct , and also in light of new guidance and case law
· Amendments to Access to information Rules
· Proposed simplification of the petition rules
· Changes to Council Procedure Rules
Responding to discussion, the Chief Executive suggested that only significant points of principle should be taken forward to full Council on 19 March. The Working Party would consider points raised at this meeting.
2. In line with the procedure for the joint meeting, Cllr Horrill and Mr Patrick Davies addressed the meeting.
In summary, Councillor Horrill raised the following points:
· The drafting of a new Constitution was an outcome of the Claer Lloyd Jones Report and Peer Review and the recommendations of each had been reviewed and taken into account by the Working Group. A wholesale review of the constitution had now taken place
· The work to deliver a new Constitution was currently behind schedule and progress towards this had been shown as part of an Audit Action.
· Councillor Horrill referred to the draft of the new constitution which had been issued to all Members in January 2019. Members’ comments on this had then been taken to the Working Party. The Audit and The Overview and Scrutiny Committee were now asked to consider whether there were any further areas of potential concern. Only significant points that cannot be resolved would then be taken forward to Council.
In summary, Mr Davies raised the following points:
· The first time that he was aware that a review of the Constitution was taking place was notification of the Extraordinary Council meeting.
· There was seemingly a reliance on private meetings to undertake Council business. The Council had not taken on board previous criticism of this and that the council would not achieve the trust of the public by operating in this manner.
3. The Joint meeting resumed discussion and in summary, the following initial points were raised and ... view the full minutes text for item 2a
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee agrees its recommendations
That comments of The Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Audit Committee, as set out in the minutes of the informal discussion and debate of the joint meeting be further considered by the Constitution Member/Officer Working Group and/or full Council.