Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee
Monday 11 June 2018 3.00 pm

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

Items
No. Item

60.

Election of Chair

To elect a Chair for the 2018-19 Civic Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Cllr Mark Hawthorne be elected to the position of Chair of the Constitution Committee for the 2018-19 Civic Year.

61.

Election of Vice-Chair

The Constitution makes provision for the Constitution Committee to elect a Vice-chair if members so wish.

 

To determine whether the committee should elect a Vice-chair, and if so, to elect a member to be Vice-chair.

Minutes:

Cllr Colin Hay and Cllr Ray Theodoulou were proposed for the position of Vice-Chair of the Constitution Committee.

 

On being put to the vote, it was

 

RESOLVED that Cllr Ray Theodoulou be elected to the position of Vice-Chair of the Constitution Committee for the 2018-19 Civic Year.

62.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2018 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

63.

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 10am on Monday, 4 June 2018. 

Minutes:

No public questions had been received.

64.

Members' Questions

To answer any written members’ questions. The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10am on Monday, 4 June 2018.

Minutes:

No member questions had been received.

65.

Amendments to Motions pdf icon PDF 40 KB

At the full Council meeting on 16 May 2018, Cllr Colin Hay requested that the Constitution Committee review the procedural standing orders relating to amendments at its next meeting.

 

An extract from the Constitution setting out the current arrangements for amendments to a motion is attached.

Minutes:

At the full Council meeting on 16 May 2018, Cllr Colin Hay had requested that the Constitution Committee to consider the procedural standing orders relating to amendments.

 

Cllr Hay explained that he had made the request because he was concerned at the way in which motion 812 relating to Police funding had been amended.  He recognised that it was the Chair’s judgement on the validity of an amendment but he believed that in this particular case a completely new proposal had been put forward.  He said that the amendment had changed the intent of the motion to such an extent that the original proposer and seconder were unable to support it.  He noted that a member could only withdraw a motion they had moved with the consent of full Council and the seconder.

 

Another member referred to motion 809 relating to Gloucestershire roads at the same meeting of full Council .  He  stated that the wording of the whole of the original motion had been lost as a result of an amendment put forward. He believed that it was against the spirit of an amendment if a motion was changed to that extent. 

 

The Chair noted that the subject matter of each motion had not been changed and the purpose of the amendments was to achieve a similar outcome.  He said that if motions were critical of the controlling political group then it was unreasonable not to expect that group to put forward amendments to allow the views of its members to be expressed.

 

Some members questioned what alternative there was to the current arrangements.  They said that if the controlling group simply voted against a motion then should it put forward a new proposal to be voted on at the next meeting? They believed that if a motion was political then it was likely that the controlling group would wish to propose an amendment.

 

Another member stated that the purpose of a motion was to bring a particular issue to the attention of the Council and to allow a debate on that matter.  He said that an amendment should not detract from the overall theme of the original motion.  He felt that the amendments made to the Police funding and Gloucestershire roads motions at the last full Council meeting did not reflect the original intent of the motions.  

 

It was recognised that more could be done to share amendments ahead of meetings and it was hoped that this could be facilitated through Group Leaders and the Political Research Assistants.  There would inevitably still be some occasions when it would not be possible to reach agreement.  The increasing length of motions was a growing concern and it was hoped that steps could be taken to make them shorter and more focused.  Political comments could be made as part of the debate in the Council Chamber.. 

 

On a wider point, the Chair agreed that there was some merit in looking at the content of the Council agenda and he requested that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

Changes to the Employee Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report relating to changes to the Employee Code of Conduct.  Jane Burns, the Monitoring Officer, explained that she had made a commitment to review the code on a regular basis.  She advised that the code would be promoted to ensure that all staff had appropriate guidance on how the Council and the public expected them to behave.

 

Members were anxious that, whenever possible, staff wore their official identity badge when they were undertaking Council duties.  They requested that the wording of paragraph 6 of the code be strengthened.

 

Referring to paragraph 81, they asked for more information on the circumstances when a member of staff might be undertaking fee paying work partly during normal working hours.

 

RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL that the revised Employee of Conduct be approved subject to:

 

a)    Paragraph 6 – Amending the second sentence to read ‘Staff are expected to wear their official Gloucestershire County Council identity badge on Council premises and when on official business out of the office.’

b)    Paragraph 81 – Requesting the Monitoring Officer to seek further information from Human Resources relating to the circumstances in which a member of staff undertakes fee paying work partly during normal working hours.

67.

Monitoring Officer Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 33 KB

To consider the attached report.  The revised constitution incorporating gender neutral language can be viewed here - http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=756&MId=9002&Ver=4

 

 

 

Minutes:

Jane Burns, the Monitoring Officer, explained that the Constitution had been revised to reflect the request at the committee meeting held on 12 March 2018 for gender neutral language.  She noted that this approach was being followed in the way that members were referred to in Council documents but, if members were aware of any examples where this was not the case, then she asked that they let her know.   

 

RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND THAT THE COUNCIL ratify the changes to Constitution, relating to the use of gender neutral language, made by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers.