Agenda and minutes

Constitution Sub-Committee
Friday, 3rd November, 2017 2.30 pm

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

Items
No. Item

20.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

21.

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.

 

 

Minutes:

There were no members of the public wishing to speak.

22.

Members Speaking

To provide an opportunity for visiting members to speak in relation to the review of the constitution.

Minutes:

Councillor A Stott asked how members would know what had changed in the constitution. Judith Barnes of Bevan Brittan referred to the authority given to officers by members to report any substantive changes to the Sub-Committee. Brian Reed added that any member concerned about a change could discuss it with him.

 

Councillor J Jackson commented that she did not agree with the proposed changes to the planning committees as set out in the agenda and added that reserved matters on outline planning applications should be returned to the planning committees. She also disagreed with any proposals to deny officers on lower grades the opportunity to be heard by the Staffing Appeals Sub-Committee. She also urged careful consideration of the filtering process in relation to the IDC Committee.

 

Councillor G Merry, as Chairman of the Strategic Planning Board, indicated that she had not been consulted on the proposed reduction in the size of the planning committees. She also supported the retention of substitutes.

 

 

23.

Minutes of Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 29th September 2017.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 29th September 2017 be confirmed as a correct record.

24.

Review of the Constitution - Principles pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To consider a report on mechanisms to ensure that the revised constitution is concise and future-proof, and an approach to highlighting substantive changes to the constitution for consideration.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a report on mechanisms to ensure that the revised Constitution was concise, user-friendly and future-proof.

 

A key principle of the review had been to be concise, covering only those essential issues which needed to be in the formal Constitution and sign-posting to other documents and sources. The Sub-Committee considered an Advice Note by Bevan Brittan which explained in more detail how this would work in practice, including the use of ‘hyperlinking’ and the status and ownership of each hyperlinked document in the proposed revised Constitution. The Advice Note is attached as Appendix A to these minutes.

 

The Sub-Committee also considered a schedule of sections/documents to be taken out of the constitution and linked to it where appropriate. The schedule made suggestions for the appropriate ownership and review processes for each document. A number of questions had been highlighted in the Schedule for members’ consideration. The schedule is attached as Appendix B to these minutes.

 

Much feedback had been received on the most appropriate mechanism for highlighting changes from the existing Constitution to the new revised document, including a request for ‘tracked changes’ . Bevan Brittan had advised that the redrafted Constitution, whilst taking much of the content from the current one, was a significantly changed document, especially in terms of its layout. This had required a significant restructuring and editing of repetitious, superfluous or outdated content. As such, a large part of the New Constitution was essentially a new document, not an amended one, and the facility to ‘track all changes’ did not lend itself to this kind of rewrite It was difficult, if not impossible, to use the ‘tracked changes’ functionality within Microsoft Word and attempts to highlight these changes manually through notation, high-lighting, colour-coding or other methods often obscured rather than enlighten, when trying to review the new material. Such an approach could not therefore be recommended.

 

Bevan Brittan proposed instead to bring to the attention of Members the substantive areas of change within an Explanatory Note/Schedule of Substantive Changes.

 

The Sub-Committee had endorsed this approach at its meeting on 15th September 2017 when it resolved that Officers be permitted to use their discretion (this to be exercised with caution) in bringing to the attention of the Sub Committee only matters of substance when constitutional changes are proposed. It was therefore proposed that offices would:

 

§  draw attention to all substantive changes (exercising caution) in the Explanatory Note (List of Substantive Changes);

 

§  provide printed copies of both the existing Constitution and the revised Constitution to any Member that requested them; and

 

§  highlight any specific changes (with page number references for both documents) as requested by Members on a case-by-case basis if these were not immediately apparent and/or incorporated within the Explanatory Note (List of Substantive Changes).

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Constitution Committee be recommended to approve:

 

1.    the overall proposed approach to hyperlinking as set out in the Bevan Brittan Advice Note (Appendix A to these minutes) subject to all hyperlinked documents being  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Review of the Constitution - Work Package 2: Decision-making: Terms of Reference of Member Bodies pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider the draft revised Constitution for Work Package 2 and Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a draft revised Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) for Work Package 2, and a redrafted element of Work Package 2 – Decision-making: Terms of Reference of Member Bodies (New Constitution Section 2 (a) to (d)).

 

The Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) highlighted proposed changes to the constitution in three categories:

 

Section I – substantive changes required by law for approval (although these will be minimal as the original Bevan Brittan review confirmed that the Constitution was compliant)

 

Section II – substantive changes based on best practice recommended for approval

 

Section III – substantive changes for consideration by the Sub-Committee

 

The Sub-Committee considered the substantive changes and agreed an appropriate course of action in respect of each one. [The Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Changes) has since been updated to reflect the Sub-Committee’s decisions and is attached as Appendix C to these minutes.]

 

RESOLVED

 

That

 

1.    the content of the report and the significant progress made to date be noted;

 

2.    the Constitution Committee be recommended to approve:

 

(a)  the proposed Substantive Issues as set out in Appendix C to these minutes: Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) Sections I & II;

 

(b)  the specific recommendation in respect of each individual issue as set out in Appendix C: Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) Section III; and

 

(c)  the revised draft of Section 2 (a) to (d) of the Constitution (Work Package 2) as set out in Appendix B to the report and the accompanying Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues), subject to the specific responses agreed by the Sub-Committee.

 

26.

Review of the Constitution - Work Package 3: Decision-making: Officer Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider the draft revised Constitution for Work Package 3 and Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a draft revised Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) for Work Package 3, and a redrafted element of Work Package 3 – Decision-making: Officer Scheme of Delegation (New Constitution Section 2 (e)).

 

The Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) highlighted proposed changes to the constitution in three categories:

 

Section I – substantive changes required by law for approval (although these will be minimal as the original Bevan Brittan review confirmed that the Constitution was compliant)

 

Section II – substantive changes based on best practice recommended for approval

 

Section III – substantive changes for consideration by the Sub-Committee

 

The Sub-Committee considered the substantive changes and agreed an appropriate course of action in respect of each one. [The Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Changes) has since been updated to reflect the Sub-Committee’s decisions and is attached as Appendix D to these minutes.]

 

RESOLVED

 

That

 

1.    the content of the report and the significant progress made to date be noted;

 

2.    the Constitution Committee be recommended to approve:

 

(a)  the proposed Substantive Issues as set out in Appendix D to these minutes: Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) Section II;

 

(b)  the specific recommendation in respect of each individual issue as set out in Appendix D: Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) Section III; and

 

(c)  the revised draft of Section 2 (e) of the Constitution (Work Package 3) as set out in Appendix B to the report and the accompanying Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues), subject to the specific responses agreed by the Sub-Committee.

 

27.

Review of the Constitution - Work Package 4: Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider the draft revised Constitution for Work Package 4 and Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a draft revised Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) for Work Package 4, and a redrafted element of Work Package 4 – Procedure Rules (New Constitution Section 3)

 

The Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) highlighted proposed changes to the constitution in three categories:

 

Section I – substantive changes required by law for approval (although these will be minimal as the original Bevan Brittan review confirmed that the Constitution was compliant)

 

Section II – substantive changes based on best practice recommended for approval

 

Section III – substantive changes for consideration by the Sub-Committee

 

The Sub-Committee considered the substantive changes and agreed an appropriate course of action in respect of each one. [The Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Changes) has since been updated to reflect the Sub-Committee’s decisions and is attached as Appendix E to these minutes.]

 

RESOLVED

 

That

 

1.    the content of the report and the significant progress made to date be noted;

 

2.    the Constitution Committee be recommended to approve:

 

(a)  the proposed Substantive Issues as set out in Appendix E to these minutes: Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) Sections I & II;

 

(b)  the specific recommendation in respect of each individual issue as set out in Appendix E: Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues) Section III; and

 

(c)  the revised draft of Section 3 of the Constitution (Work Package 4) as set out in Appendix B to the report and the accompanying Explanatory Note (Schedule of Substantive Issues), subject to the specific responses agreed by the Sub-Committee.

 

28.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Sub-Committee will be held on Friday, 17th November 2017 at 10.00 am in Committee Suite 1, 2 & 3, Westfields.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Sub-Committee would be held on Friday, 17th November 2017 at 10.00 am in the Committee Suite at Westfields.