Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee
Monday 12 March 2018 3.00 pm

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

Contact: Laura Powick 

Items
No. Item

53.

Apologies for absence

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies at the meeting.

54.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 15 January 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of 15 January 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

55.

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 5 March 2018.  To answer any urgent 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.

56.

Members' Questions

To answer any written members’ questions. The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10.00am on Monday 5 March 2018.

Minutes:

No questions from members were received.

57.

Gender Neutral Language in the Constitution pdf icon PDF 67 KB

The Committee to consider a briefing note on gender neutral language in the Constitution.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a proposal from Cllr Rachel Smith on the use of gender-neutral language in the Constitution.

 

Cllr Smith explained that the use of gender-neutral language was important to avoid bias towards a particular sex or social gender. Cllr Smith explained that gender-neutral language was used for the most part within the Constitution, however the use was not consistent. It was therefore proposed that the language within the Constitution be tidied up so that it is gender-neutral throughout.

 

The Committee discussed the proposal in detail. In particular, the Committee considered the use of ‘Chair’ instead of ‘Chairperson’ within the Constitution, and the option for the Chair of Council to decide how they wished to be addressed during their term of office.

 

The Committee was advised that the language used within the Constitution could be amended under the Monitoring Officer’s delegated powers, and that this could be completed in time for the full Council meeting on 16 May 2018.

 

On being put to the vote, the Committee agreed that the Constitution should be amended to include the use of gender-neutral language.  It was agreed that ‘Chairman’ would be replaced by ‘Chair’, and that a note would be included in the Constitution to clarify that the Chair of Council, at the beginning of their term of office, could choose to indicate how they wished to be addressed, according to personal preference.

 

RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL that the Constitution be amended to include:

1.    The use of gender-neutral language;

2.    The use of ‘Chair’ instead of ‘Chairman’; and

3.    A note to clarify that the Chair of Council, at the beginning of their term of office, could choose to indicate how they wished to be addressed, according to personal preference.

 

 

 

58.

Procedure for Budget Council Meetings

The Committee to consider a proposal on a separate procedure in the Constitution for budget council meetings.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a suggestion from Cllr Colin Hay on the inclusion of a separate procedure within the Constitution for budget council meetings.

 

It was noted that, currently, procedural standing orders relating to amendments and time limits of speeches were suspended during budget council meetings. Cllr Hay suggested that it could  be easier, and less confusing, for a separate procedure for budget council meetings to be codified within the Constitution instead.

 

The Committee discussed the suggestion in detail. The Committee recognised the reasons for the suggestion, however acknowledged the importance of flexibility in the process of managing budget council meetings. It was also noted that the current process ensures that Group Leaders took responsibility to agree an efficient procedure before each budget council meeting.

 

It was clarified, in response to a query, that the current process also allows for flexibility, should an individual member wish to propose an amendment to the budget.

 

On being put to a vote, it was agreed that the current procedure for budget council meetings should continue.

59.

Monitoring Officer Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 267 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report, which codified the appointment, by the Leader of the Council, of four Cabinet Project Champions to assist the Cabinet with its work, in the Constitution.

 

In response to a query, the Leader explained his reasons behind the areas of focus for the Cabinet Champion roles.

 

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.