Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee
Thursday, 5th October, 2017 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: Paul Mountford  Executive Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest.


Public Speaking Time/Open Session

In accordance with Procedure Rules Nos.11 and 35 a period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the body in question.  Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers. Members of the public are not required to give notice to use this facility. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours’ notice is encouraged.


Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.




There were no members of the public wishing to speak.


Minutes of Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 4th August 2017.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 4th August 2017 be approved as a correct record.


Progress on the Review of the Constitution

To discuss the progress of the constitution review.


The Committee considered a progress report on the review of the constitution.


The Constitution Sub-Committee, which had been appointed by the Committee to oversee the detailed work of the review, had met on 23rd August, and on 15th and 29th September. It had approved the creation of five work packages as follows, each with its own working group, lead member and officer:


Work Package 1 – The overall style and presentation of the Constitution

Work Package 2 – Decision-making – Terms of Reference of Member Bodies

Work Package 3 – Decision-making – Officer Scheme of Delegation

Work Package 4 – Procedure Rules

Work Package 5 – Codes/Protocols and Members’ Allowances


The working groups had met independently to work on the detail of the review. The Council’s external advisers, Bevan Brittan, had then drafted revised sections of the constitution based on the work of the working groups and had submitted these to the Constitution Sub-Committee for consideration. The Sub-Committee had so far agreed the content for work package 1 whilst noting progress with the other work packages.


An initial joint officer/member working group, facilitated by Bevan Brittan, had been held on 31st August 2017 in Sandbach Town Hall. The notes from the workshop had been fed into the working groups.


At its meeting on 15th September, the Sub-Committee had approved the principle that any substantive proposed changes to the constitution would be highlighted to the Sub-Committee, the Constitution Committee and Council.


It was proposed, as part of a wider member engagement process, that drop-in sessions for all members would be held on 12th and 13th October at Westfields in order to provide an informal briefing on how the review of the Constitution had been conducted and to explain the key changes that were proposed. Presentations had also been offered to the political groups, and a briefing for group leaders was being arranged.


To provide an indication of the progress with the review, officers circulated copies of the draft revised sections of the constitution together with explanatory notes of any changes. Further work would be needed to the documents before they were submitted formally for members’ consideration.


Although substantial progress had been made with the review of the constitution, a considerable amount of work still needed to be done on drafting the new sections and supporting documents, and taking on board the outcome of the two drop-in sessions. The Constitution Sub-Committee on 29th September 2017 had considered the timescale of the review and had agreed a revised timetable which would lead to the adoption of the new constitution at the December Council meeting. This would provide further opportunities for all members to engage fully with the process and feed in their comments. The proposed revised timetable was as follows:


Group Leaders’ Briefing – 9th October 2017

Group Briefings - TBC

Member Briefing (drop-in) Sessions – 12th/13th October 2017

Constitution Sub-Committee – mid to late October

(to approve work packages 2, 3 and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.