The Council has taken the decision to review the existing Constitution and the Committee is invited to comment upon the amended Constitution before it is presented to the Standards and Audit Committee, the Executive and Council.
Reporting Person: Jo McIntosh
The Committee welcomed Joanne McIntosh, Director of Legal and Democratic Services, to the meeting.
At its meeting on 11 July 2022, the Committee had agreed to recommend that the Constitution should be reviewed, following a Scrutiny Topic Review Selection Form submitted by Councillor Caulfield. Joanne McIntosh had undertaken to redraft the Constitution and had subsequently provided an update to the Committee at its meeting held on 26 September 2022.
The Committee thanked Joanne McIntosh for the amended Constitution and commended the hard work from all contributors in producing the new draft document. Members expressed satisfaction with the modernised format and user-friendly language which would increase its usability, noting that the new draft benefitted from several new sections.
As part of the changes to the Constitution, it had been proposed that a Corporate Governance Group should be set up. The Group’s mandate would be to keep the Constitution under review and report on any recommended updates at regular intervals.
Members provided several recommendations. It was requested that the explanations for Councillor term length, Points of Order and Personal Explanations be clarified and Joanne McIntosh confirmed that these would be addressed. Some Members reaffirmed their view that etiquette at Committee be enforced asked that guidance be reiterated to all Members before the next Council meeting.
Members stressed expectation that the creation of Deputy Portfolio Holders would not equate to an increase in allowance for those Members. Joanne McIntosh confirmed that this was not the intention but was for Councillors to gain experience and share responsibility. Joanne McIntosh advised Members that there was to be a separate review of Councillor allowances at a future date.
The Committee briefly discussed the recently resolved Motion to Council regarding verbatim questions and responses and whether it should be incorporated into the Constitution. Joanne McIntosh advised that the Constitution could not include such level of detail.
The Committee noted that the amended Constitution would in due course be presented to the Standards and Audit Committee, the Executive and finally Council.
That the report be noted.