Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee - Wednesday 2 June 2010 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Sharon Clutterbuck 

No. Item


Election of Chairman


Cllr Jones nominated Cllr Noble as Chairperson, this was seconded by Cllr Hicks.  On there being no other nominations it was


THAT Cllr Noble elected as Chairperson for the ensuing year.


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Awford.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2010.




THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2010 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.


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 Tuesday, 25 May 2010.  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.


No public questions were received.


Members' Questions

To answer any written members’ questions.  The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10.00am on Tuesday, 25 May 2010.


No Members’ questions were received.


The duty to respond to petitions including electronic petitions pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Additional documents:


Christine Wray presented this report that outlined the recent legislation that required Local Authorities to prepare and publish a Petitions Scheme with effect from 15 June 2010 in relation to paper petitions, and December 2010 in relation to electronic petitions.  The report highlighted the basic requirements of the scheme and asked members to agree a scheme for Gloucestershire.


During the ensuing debate the following points were raised:


Ø   The number of signatures required to trigger a response to a petition within the scheme should be 25; for a petition to be considered at a public meeting of one of the council’s overview and scrutiny committees 500 signatures should be required and for a petition to be scheduled for a council debate 5000 signatures or more.

Ø   The debate at Council should be 15 minutes but could be extended at the discretion of the Chair of Council up to a maximum of 30 minutes.

Ø   The scheme should include the fact that people can speak to their local councillor or an officer to discuss their particular concerns.

Ø   Concerns were expressed with regard to people living outside the county border who could be affected by issues in Gloucestershire, it was therefore agreed that the Monitoring Officer should be given the discretion whether or not to accept signatures from people living, working or studying outside the county border.

Ø   Some members considered it important that it was clear in the scheme that Scrutiny committee does not have any executive powers.

Ø   County Councillors should be informed if a petition is received that affects their particular area.

Ø   It was important that there was a clear set of standards published on the website in relation to reasons for petitions being rejected.  The discretion to reject a petition should be with the Monitoring Officer.  This should be a separate document published on the website, to be circulated and agreed by Members.


In response to a member’s question Christine Wray explained that if a petition was presented in relation to an issue that had gone through a consultation process, this would not be excluded, however the response made would take into account the fact that consultation had taken place.


Members agreed the amendments discussed should be made to the draft Petitions Scheme and circulated to all Constitution committee Members prior to approval at Council.




THAT the draft scheme, as amended be approved and recommended to full Council for adoption.


Changes to Gloucestershire Constitution by the Monitoring Officer


Christine Wray presented changes to the Constitution that had been made by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers.


The change was in relation to the membership of the Pensions Committee that currently stated “one staff representative without voting rights to be co-opted by the Pensions Committee following nomination by Unison” the amendment was to add the following words “representing, active deferred and pensioner members of the Pension Fund”.


Some concern was expressed that there were many non-union members of staff and there should be a system for them to have their voice in commenting on issues that affect them.  Clarification was sought on this and the item was deferred to a future meeting.



THAT this decision be deferred to a future meeting of the Constitution Committee.