Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee
Monday 16 January 2017 3.00 pm

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

Contact: Laura Gibbard 

Items
No. Item

23.

Apologies for absence

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

23.1      Apologies were received from Cllr Roger Wilson and Cllr Jeremy Hilton.

 

23.2      Cllr Kathy Williams substituted at the meeting for Cllr Wilson.

 

 

24.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 10th October 2016.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of 10 October 2016 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

25.

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 Monday 9th January 2017.  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.

 

26.

Members' Questions

To answer any written members’ questions.  The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10.00am on Monday 9th January 2017.

Minutes:

No questions from members were received.

 

27.

Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider the report and recommendations of the Panel.

Minutes:

27.1    Richard Blamey, Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), presented the IRP’s report to the Committee.

 

27.2    He highlighted that the Panel was pleased its recommendation to raise the Basic Allowance to £10,000 was approved by full Council in February 2016. The Committee noted that the amount was fixed for 2016-17 and 2017-18, and that the Special Responsibility Allowances had been frozen at their 2015-16 levels.

 

27.3    It was explained to the Committee that the IRP’s latest examinations indicated that the Special Responsibility Allowances were set lower than at other local authorities. The IRP would review these allowances following the election in May 2017 and would bring forward revised proposals to the Committee.

 

27.4    Richard Blamey thanked Simon Harper and the Democratic Services team for their help in supporting the Panel’s work. Members thanked Richard for his and the Panel’s work.

 

27.5    RESOLVED TO NOTE

 

a)     That the Basic Allowance was frozen at £10,000 for the 2017-18 financial year;

b)     That the Special Responsibility Allowances would be reviewed following the May 2017 election.

 

 

28.

Motion 783 - Open Contracting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

The following Motion (proposed by Cllr Sarah Lunnon and seconded by Cllr Mike Sztymiak) was received at the full Council meeting held on 7 December 2016, and was referred to the Constitution Committee for consideration:

 

That Gloucestershire County Council commits to the Open Contracting Global Principles and takes action to ensure that:

- By the end of 2017 complete information for all contracting processes over £1m, including details of the tender, award and contract process, the full text of contracts and amendments, and performance information, are proactively published;


- By the end of 2018 complete information is available for all contracting processes, over £500*, is proactively published

The presumption should be that the text of all contracts is open by default. Redactions should only be permitted: (a) at the explicit written request of the parties to the contract; (b) subject to the public interest tests of the Freedom of Information act; (c) with the minimum possible redactions; and (d) with full justifications for any redaction given.

Furthermore, to ensure public access to information on the operation of outsourced services, all future contracts of the Council should include a model clause providing full public access to performance reporting and other key information required to exercise effective scrutiny.

(*This should be set the same as the threshold in the local government transparency code)

 

The Council debate on the Motion can be found at the following link:

 

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=14832

 

A paper submitted by Cllr Lunnon is attached.

 

The Committee is asked to determine the next steps.

Minutes:

28.1      Cllr Sarah Lunnon presented the Motion, which was received at the full Council meeting on 7 December 2016, and was referred to the Constitution Committee for consideration.

 

28.2      She explained that her proposal for open contracting would still allow for information in contracts to be redacted, however the Open Contacting Global Principles would be used to decide what information should be redacted. She also suggested that it should be the remit of contractors to decide what information was commercially sensitive, rather than the Council’s.

 

28.3      Cllr Lunnon felt that it would be beneficial to the Council to have a more transparent contracting process. Cllr Mike Sztymiak, who seconded the Motion at the full Council meeting on 7 December 2016, explained that he believed the adoption of the Open Contracting Global Principles would help the Council to engage with the public in an open and transparent manner. He added that the focus of the Motion was for information in contracts to be made open by default.

 

28.4      Cllr Lunnon proposed that a task group consider the Motion. The Committee discussed the proposal and several members voiced their support. It was therefore agreed that an advisory group would be established to assess the implications of the open contracting principles.

 

28.5      In particular, it was agreed that the terms of reference for the advisory group would be to:

 

·        Consider the current arrangements for publishing contract details within the Council;

·        Seek expert advice on best practice relating to openness and transparency in respect of contracting;

·        Understand the views of the commercial sector on open contracting;

·        Understand other local authority practices relating to openness in contracts, including councils within Gloucestershire’s family group; and

·        Assess the costs and other implications of any changes to the current arrangements on the Council.

 

28.6      It was decided that the advisory group would be established after the election in May 2017 and would report back to the Constitution Committee. The terms of reference would be drawn up and circulated following the meeting.

 

Action: Laura Gibbard

29.

Monitoring Officer Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

29.1      Jane Burns, Director of Strategy and Challenge and Monitoring Officer, presented the changes to the Pension Committee’s terms of reference. The changes had resulted from the full Council decision, taken on 7 December 2016, to enter into investment pooling through the Brunel Pension Partnership, with respect to the Gloucestershire Pension Fund.

 

29.2    RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL to ratify the changes to the Constitution, as set out in the report, by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers.