Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee - Monday 9 March 2020 3.00 pm

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

Items
No. Item

20.

Apologies for absence

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

All of the committee members were present.

21.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2020 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

22.

Public Questions

To answer any written public questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the Committee. The closingdate/time for receipt of questions is 10.00am on Monday 2 March 2020.

Minutes:

No public questions had been submitted

23.

Members' Questions

To answer any written members’ questions. The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10.00am on Monday 2 March 2020.

Minutes:

No member questions had been submitted

24.

Independent Remuneration Panel IRP) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Richard Blamey, Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel, to present the attached report for consideration by the Committee.

Minutes:

Cllr Colin Hay declared a personal interest as the current Chair of the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel.  The special responsibility allowance for the position did not form part of the Council’s allowances scheme but the IRP had indicated support for the allowance to be set at the same level as a Scrutiny Chair at Gloucestershire County Council.

 

Richard Blamey, Chair of the IRP, presented the report.  He said that he had attended a seminar for IRP chairs across the South West in January 2020 and it was evident that the Council had a robust process for reviewing allowances and others had indicated that they would like to follow the same approach.

 

Fifteen councillors including Scrutiny Chairs, Group Leaders and Cabinet Members had attended interviews with the IRP during October 2019.  Mr Blamey stated that there was a strong sense of commitment to their local communities amongst county councillors in Gloucestershire.  He said that he was pleased to see the positive reaction from councillors to the Council’s new scrutiny structure.  The IRP recognised the value of good scrutiny and its role in ensuring good governance at the Council.  It was apparent that the special responsibility allowance for committee chairs and opposition group leaders appeared low in comparison to other local authorities and an increase of 4% was recommended.  He noted that the overall cost of increasing those allowances by 4% instead of 2% was around £1,300.  

 

Answering questions, Mr Blamey was not supportive of an automatic increase in allowances each year as he believed that it was important that the IRP had an opportunity to consider any changes to member roles as well as comparative data from other councils.   He noted that in recent years the annual allowances in allowances had broadly followed the staff pay rise from the previous financial year with small adjustments to reflect the particular circumstances at the Council.  The staff pay rise for 2019-20 was 2% and this was the percentage increase recommended for members for 2020-21 with the exception of committee chairs and opposition group leaders. 

 

The Chair recognised that it was important not to fetter the independence of the IRP but the normal expectation was that members’ allowances would broadly follow the staff pay rise from the year before.

 

RESOLVED to recommend the Council 

a)    To increase the Basic Allowance from £10,300 to £10,500 (2%)

b)    To increase the Special Responsibility Allowance for Committee Chairs and  Group Leaders from £6,120 to £6,360 (4%).

c)    To increase all other Special Responsibility Allowances by 2% in line with the recommendation for the Basic Allowance.

d)    To note the revised Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2020-21 at Appendix B to the report.

e)    To indicate support for the Special Responsibility Allowance for the Chair of the Police and Crime Panel to be set at the same level as a Scrutiny Chair at Gloucestershire County Council and authorise the Chief Executive to write to the six District Councils to request their support for this approach.

25.

Health and Wellbeing Board Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 106 KB

a)         To consider Report A on feedback from the Health and Wellbeing Board, Health Scrutiny Committee and Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee on the proposed amendment to the Board’s terms of reference.

 

b)        To consider Report B on a second set of proposed amendments.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At the Constitution Committee on 30 January 2020, the Committee

considered a proposal from Cllr Dobie to add the additional wording to the terms of reference of the Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board terms of reference:

‘The Health and Wellbeing Board is subject to democratic scrutiny by Council

via the Health Scrutiny Committee, and the Adult Social Care and

Communities Scrutiny Committee. To properly consider increasingly integrated Health and Social Care systems, such scrutiny of the Health and Wellbeing Board should be done via a joint meeting of both the above committees on at least an annual basis. The timing of such a meeting to be agreed by the three chairs.’

 

The Committee agreed that a sensible approach would be to request

feedback from the Health and Wellbeing Board and the relevant scrutiny committees on the principle and practicalities of this proposal before considering a recommendation.

 

The Chair noted that views had been sought but he believed that the best approach would be to wait for new the new Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board to be appointed.

 

Members suggested that scrutiny should look at the annual report and work plan of the Health and Wellbeing Board and speak to relevant Cabinet Members.

 

RESOLVED that the matter be deferred until the new Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board was appointed.

26.

Gloucestershire Local Pension Board Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider the attached report and proposed amendments.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report circulated with the agenda.  The key change was to increase the membership of the Pension Board from 5 to 7 to avoid issues around meetings not being quorate.  Some other minor changes were recommended to improve the effectiveness of the board.

 

Cllr Nigel Moor, the county councillor representative on the Pension Board, believed that the proposal was a sensible one and would prevent recurrence of the problem that had occurred.

 

RESOLVED to recommend to the Council that the changes to the terms of reference of the Pension Board be approved as indicated in the report.

 

 

 

 

 

27.

Section 278 Highway Agreements pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To consider the attached proposal for authority to be delegated to the Executive Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure to enter into Section 278 Highway Agreements.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report circulated with the agenda.  Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 permitted a local highway authority to enter into

a legal agreement with a developer (in order to facilitate development) for the

developer to either pay for, or make alterations or improvements to the highway.  Given the growth agenda, officers considered that it would be prudent to delegate the Section 278 functions to an officer of the authority, rather than the function lie with the Executive. This would ensure that the Executive were not burdened with small scale requests to enter into Section 278 agreements and ensured that the County Council could respond and enter into such agreements in a timely manner to meet the requirements of developers.

 

Some concerns were raised that if Section 278 agreements were too onerous then they might impact on Section 106 agreements governing developer contributions and in some cases the overall viability of new developments.

 

Answering questions, Cllr Nigel Moor, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, explained that a Section 278 agreement could not be put in place until after planning permission, including any related Section 106 agreement, was approved. 

 

Officers reassured members that the relevant District Council as the Planning Authority would be involved in the overall process.  The County Council as the Highway Authority would have a good understanding of the value of the highway work at the outset of the planning process. In normal circumstances the Highway Authority made arrangements for the required work to be undertaken and then billed the developer.

 

RESOLVED to recommend to the Council that the scheme of delegation be changed to authorise the Executive Director of Economy, Environment and

Infrastructure as set out in the appendix to the report.

28.

Motions without Notice pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider the proposed amendment to the Constitution to reflect discussion at the January Committee meeting regarding Motions without Notice.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer referred to the discussion at the last meeting of the Constitution Committee and the recent full Council meeting regarding motions without notice.  He explained that the report recommended a change to Procedural Standing Order 11 which allowed the proposer of the substantive motion to speak for up to three minutes against a procedural motion.  If the proposer of the motion declined to speak against the procedural motion, the chair could allow one other member to speak for up to three minutes against the procedural motion.

 

RESOLVED to recommend to the Council that the following change be made to Procedural Standing Order 11.2.2 in Part 4 of the Constitution:

 

‘If a motion is moved under this Procedural Standing Order during a debate, the proposer of the substantive motion may speak for up to three minutes against this motion.  If they decline to speak against this motion, the chair may consent to one other member speaking against the motion moved under this Procedural Standing Order.’

 

 

 

29.

Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 294 KB

To consider the attached changes to the Scheme of Delegation.

Minutes:

The report set out a number of changes to the scheme of delegation to bring the Constitution in line with recent changes to job titles at Executive Director, Director, Assistant Director and Head of Service level.  There were also a number of other references to job titles which needed to be updated to reflect changes to job titles.

 

RESOLVED to recommend to the Council that the changes to the Constitution shown in Appendix 1 to the report be adopted.

30.

Policy Framework pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer advised that the report was seeking the committee’s views on proposed changes to the Council’s Policy Framework.  He explained that the Policy Framework determined those strategies and plans that were the responsibility of the Council as a whole, rather than the Executive.  Those strategies and plans could only be agreed or amended by full Council, though the Cabinet was responsible for developing those strategies and plans and bringing proposals to full Council.  The regulations that were in place when the Council’s Constitution was drafted had been superseded over the years by piecemeal legislative changes.  This meant that there was potential for a lack of clarity about what was the remit of Council and what it was for Cabinet to decide.  As part of a wider review and refresh of the Constitution, it made sense to update the Policy Framework to make sure that it reflected both current legislation and local choice. 

 

The committee recognised the value of undertaking a wider review of the Constitution including the Policy Framework.  It was noted that a report would be presented to a future meeting.