Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee
Friday, 4th August, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: The Ballroom, Sandbach Town Hall, High Street, Sandbach, CW11 1AX. 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 51 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 23rd March 2017.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 23rd March 2017 be approved as a correct record.


Review of the Constitution pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To consider proposals for a comprehensive review of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered proposals for a comprehensive review of the Council’s Constitution.


The Council was undertaking a comprehensive review of its Constitution to ensure that it complied with all relevant statutory requirements, and to examine how its current processes and procedures could be altered to improve organisational efficiency and achieve stronger governance. The background to, and scope of, the review was set out in an advice note from external solicitors Bevan Brittan, who had been asked to advise on the review. The advice note was appended to the report.


Beth Evans of Bevan Brittan attended the meeting and presented the contents of the advice note, following which she answered members’ questions.


The Committee was asked to endorse the proposals arising from the advice note. It was also asked to appoint a formally-constituted Sub-Committee in order to take forward a full review of the Constitution, with a view to presenting a proposed new Constitution to the Constitution Committee which would, in turn, be asked to recommend the same to full Council for adoption. It was intended that the review would be completed by the autumn.


The Chairman gave an assurance that scrutiny chairmen and other members would have an opportunity to feed their comments into the review process.




That the Committee


1.    agrees on the need for a review of the Constitution and the production of a proposed new Constitution for consideration by Council in accordance with proposals contained in the advice note appended to the report;


2.    agrees a proposed vision for the production of a new Constitution as follows:


“to have a clear, succinct Constitution which is accessible, user-focused, provides helpful instruction and ensures good governance and transparency across all elements of service delivery”


3.    agrees the seven principles set out in the advice note as a starting point for the review of the Constitution and production of a proposed new Constitution, the principles being as follows:


The Constitution should:                                                                                 

                    (i)        recognise the Council’s democratic leadership role;

                  (ii)        support, not hinder, the efficient exercise of democratic decision-making, good governance and the delivery of services;

                 (iii)        be modern in its language, format and presentation;

                 (iv)        be concise, covering only those essential issues which need to be in the formal Constitution and sign-posting to other documents and sources;

                  (v)        recognise the new ways in which the Council operates (for example, through ASDVs and shared services);

                 (vi)        delegate decision-making to the most appropriate level with the right checks, balances and scrutiny; and

                (vii)        be future proof, not requiring constant revisiting and updating.


4.    agrees the key areas for action and proposed approach as set out in the advice note;


5.    appoints a Sub-Committee of eight members of the Constitution Committee (5 Conservative; 2 Labour; 1 Independent) to meet fortnightly with terms of reference as follows:


a.     agree a work programme based on the priorities set out in the advice note so as to divide the task of reviewing the Constitution into appropriate work packages and allocating the work packages to relevant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.