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New Constitution: Consideration of Draft Sections

Meeting: 26/01/2022 - Democracy and General Purposes Committee (Item 93)

93 New Constitution: Consideration of Draft Sections pdf icon PDF 226 KB

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The Head of Policy, Communications and Governance introduced the report and outlined the purpose of a Local Authority Constitution. The approach taken by the Governance Arrangements Working Group (working group) differed from standard practice, as the draft Constitution had been produced by the Chairman and then considered by the working group, with advice provided by the External Legal Advisor and Officers.


The Committee were asked to consider the drafted sections in relation to the Leader, Policy Advisory Committees (PAC), Overview & Scrutiny and Procedure Rules, as shown in appendix A to the report, which included comments from the External Legal Advisor. Appendix B to the report contained a list of significant changes.


The changes made by the working group, and whether these were required as part of the change in governance arrangements, were outlined in section 2.14 of the report. The risks identified in points 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5 of the report were specifically highlighted.


In response to questions, the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance confirmed that the governance arrangements concerning Charitable Trusts alongside the terms of reference for an agreed Employment Committee would be considered by the working group at its next meeting. Access to Information was also scheduled to be considered at the Committee’s next meeting.


In response to questions, the Democratic and Electoral Services Manager highlighted the importance of rules that provided flexibility in managing meetings, such as the invitation to third parties.


It was confirmed that the Administration’s Programme would be re-presented to Council until agreed, at which point the Executive would be responsible for the programme’s implementation. The aim of PACs  to encourage collegiate working between Executive and Non-Executive Members was reiterated, following the amendment that the Leader would nominate an Executive Member as the PAC Chairman.


Several Members felt that the draft Constitution should be written in plain English, with the removal of Latin phrases and simply laid out to increase its useability. Further consideration would be given to facilitating Councillor training on the new Constitution.




1.  The new draft Constitution sections relating to the role of Leader, Policy Advisory Committees, Overview and Scrutiny, Procedure Rules and the Administration’s Programme, as attached at Appendix A to the report, be agreed in principle;


2.  The further amendments likely required to the document as the drafting process continued, be noted; and


3.  All drafting would be in accordance with legal requirements.