Reporting Person – Joanne McIntosh
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Barker, introduced a report which recommended to Council the adoption of the revised Constitution following a comprehensive review. The Leader thanked Councillors and Officers for their input through the review engagement process. The Executive was advised that the new Constitution was a living document and had been refreshed, made easier to navigate, and included flowcharts. Attention was drawn to an updated clean copy of the Constitution, and a supplementary report which set out comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 20 March 2023 in respect of Terms of Reference, namely that the requirement for an Opposition Member to be Chairman be removed from Terms of Reference.
The Leader highlighted some of the proposed changes to the Constitution following the review. The Executive was advised of the proposed changes to the Notice of Motion process, which was currently a lengthy procedure. It was proposed that Notice of Motions be submitted earlier to allow the Monitoring Officer or s151 Officer to advise if there was a legal, policy or financial reason why the Notice of Motion could not be considered on the night at Full Council. Should a reason be identified, the Notice of Motion would revert to the Executive and then Full Council. Councillor Dorsett suggested that the proposer of a Notice of Motion be able to request that a Motion be submitted to the Executive. Changes in relation to modernised behaviours at Full Council were highlighted, such as dress codes and no longer standing to speak. Following discussion, it was noted that there were differences in opinion regarding Opposition Members being specified as Chairmen of Task Groups, dress codes and standing to speak at Full Council, and these areas would be debated further at Full Council on 30 March 2023.
It was noted that a Corporate Governance Working Group would be established reporting to the Standards and Audit Committee to ensure the continuous review of the Constitution.
The Executive welcomed the new Constitution which had been streamlined, simplified and would make the decision-making process easier to understand for Councillors, Officers and members of the public.
REcommended to council
That (i) the Constitution and all the provisions contained within it be adopted with effect from 5 May 2023; and
(ii) the Corporate Governance Working Group be formally established in accordance with the Terms of Reference included within the body of the Constitution.
Reason: The revised Constitution will ensure that the Council’s policies and procedures are consistent with delivering good governance.