Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee
Wednesday 30 March 2016 2.00 pm

Venue: Members' Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Laura Gibbard 

Items
No. Item

8.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

8.1      Apologies were received from Cllr Brian Oosthuysen.

 

8.2      There were no substitutions at this meeting.

9.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2016.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of 8 January 2016 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

10.

Public Questions

To answer any written public questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the Committee.  The closing date/time for receipt of questions is 10.00am on 21 March 2016.  To answer any oral question(s) put by members of the public with the consent of the Chairperson.

 

Depending on the nature of the questions asked it may not be possible to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting, in which case a written answer will be supplied as soon as reasonably possible after the meeting.

Minutes:

No public questions were received.

11.

Members' Questions

To answer any written members’ questions.  The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10.00am on 21 March 2016.

Minutes:

No questions from members were received.

 

12.

Motion 763 - referred from County Council 2 December 2015 pdf icon PDF 48 KB

The following Motion (proposed by Cllr Jeremy Hilton and seconded by Cllr Iain Dobie)was received at the full Council meeting held on 2 December 2015, and was referred to the Constitution Committee for consideration:

 

            This Council expresses deep concern over the Cabinet’s decision on 11 November 2015 to approve a £17 million one-off financial contribution to the residual waste project, funded from revenue reserves.

            This Council believes that redirections of such significant sums should be approved by all members of this Council.

           

            The Council therefore recommends that the Constitution Committee considers changes to standing orders and reports back to full Council at the earliest opportunity.

 

The Committee is asked to consider the attached report and to decide on if any further work is required.

Minutes:

12.1    Jane Burns, Director of Strategy and Challenge and Monitoring Officer, presented the joint report of the Monitoring Officer and Chief Financial Officer on comparative information relating to the transfers of funding.

 

12.2    The report had been produced following a request by the Committee at its meeting on 8 January 2016 for an exercise to be undertaken comparing the procedures followed by other councils relating to the transfer of funds from one budget area to another, including transfers to and from reserves.

 

12.3    The Committee was informed that the work undertaken was time-consuming. All county councils in England had been contacted and research was undertaken where necessary through each council’s website. Information had been received from 20 county councils, including Gloucestershire.

 

12.4    It was noted that, at headline level, the responses indicated the majority of county councils had processes similar to Gloucestershire County Council. Examples could be found of only four county councils where there were specific requirements for movement and transfer of budget decisions to be made by full council.

 

12.5    Cllr Jeremy Hilton expressed his concern that the Cabinet’s decision on 11 November 2015 to approve a £17 million one-off financial contribution to the residual waste project, funded from revenue reserves, involved the transfer of a significant sum of money that was outside of the planned budget. He proposed that the additional transfer of more than £5 million to a project should be approved by full Council.

 

12.6    Several members commented that it was reasonable for the executive to have responsibility for the movement and transfer of budgets, unless policy changes were involved. The example raised by Cllr Hilton had been subject to the Call-in Procedure.

 

12.7    After being put to a vote, it was agreed by the majority of the Committee that Gloucestershire County Council’s current process should be maintained. The Committee thanked officers for the report.

 

12.8    RESOLVED that no further action would be taken regarding the process for transfers of funding.

 

 

 

 

13.

Changes to the Employee Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

13.1    Jane Burns informed the Committee that she had committed to reviewing the Employee Code of Conduct on a regular basis.

 

13.2    The main changes to the Code were:

 

·                Expanding the types of engagement covered by the Code to reflect the nature of the workforce

·                Updated information on contract management and procurement

·                Clarification on conflicts of interest

·                Clarifications under health and safety issues

·                References to updated documents and guidance

·                Minor typographical changes.

 

13.3    In response to a query, it was clarified that employees had to declare membership of any organisation which was not open to the public, where there was a commitment of allegiance, and/or which had secrecy about rules, membership or conduct.

 

13.4    In reference to paragraph 81 of the Code, clarification was requested by the Committee on the type of civil offences managers would need to be notified of. It was also requested that guidance be issued to staff regarding this.

 

Action: Jane Burns

 

13.5    RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL that the revised Employee Code of Conduct be approved and adopted.

 

14.

Monitoring Officer changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 35 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

14.1    Jane Burns explained that Part 3, Section 5, Scheme of Delegation (‘Scheme of Delegation’) had been amended to reflect the change to delegated powers following the retirement of the Director of People Services.

 

14.2    RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL to ratify the changes to the Constitution by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers regarding:

 

·                Part 3 of the Constitution, (Responsibility for Functions), Section 3.13 Gloucestershire Joint Waste Committee, and;

 

·                Part 3 of the Constitution, Section 5, Scheme of Delegation (‘Scheme of Delegation’).