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Declarations of Interest
To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.
There were no declarations of interest.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2019.
The minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2019 were confirmed and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
Public Question Time (15 minutes)
To receive any questions from members of the public provided that a question does not relate to:
· Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings, or
· Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers
There were no public questions.
Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)
To receive any petitions and deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation to:
· Matters relating to individual Council Officers, or
· Matters relating to current or pending legal proceedings
There were no petitions and deputations.
To receive the report of the Head of Paid Service proposing a number of changes to the Council’s Constitution.
The Committee considered the report of the Head of Paid Service which proposed a number of changes to the Council’s Constitution to address issues and reflect reviews in relation to contract rules, the Councillor Code of Conduct, Employee Code of Conduct and Councillor/Officer protocol, petitions and procedures for dealing with the budget debate at Council.
The Corporate Director presented the report and advised that some changes were minor drafting improvements and some reflected changes previously agreed by Council.
The Committee’s attention was particularly drawn to the following proposed amendments:
Article 13 – Finance, Contracts & Legal Matters – Preamble (p.42)
Following an audit report, it had been proposed that an increase be made to the level of officer delegation from £10,000 to £25,000.
Part 3B – Council Functions (p.48)
The delegation to allow officers to appoint or nominate individuals to outside bodies
Part 3 – Committees and Appointments (p.57)
Inclusion of a decision made by Council to authorise the Head of Paid Service to amend the Constitution to ensure compliance with political balance to decide the size of Committees and allocation of seats during an event which may cause a change in the political balance of the Council, following agreement with all Group Leaders. When Group Leaders are unable to agree, this would be determined by full Council.
Part 3 – Assets & Property (p.69 & 70)
The Council had acquired a significant amount of land and a suggestion had been made to increase the delegated threshold for disposals from £50,000 to £100,000. This would now apply to annual values over £100,000.
Part 3 – Executive Functions (p.74)
Proposal to delete the detailed description of Cabinet Portfolios as functions change periodically.
Part 4 – Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (p.92)
Where a Member had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, they would be required to withdraw from the meeting (including from the public area/gallery) during the consideration of that item of business. Where their interest was an “other interest”, Councillors would be able to participate on the same basis as members of the public.
Councillor Coole said this would give Members fewer privileges than members of the public. The Managing Director said this would ensure the Member was not able to influence the debate.
The Committee agreed to the proposed amendments.
Part 4 – Council Budget Flowchart (p.96)
A revised flowchart (as shown on page 359 of the agenda) had been proposed following discussions with Group Leaders. The procedures had been based on the model used by the County Council.
Councillor Stephens argued that there should be no time limits for the opening speeches of the Leader of the Council or Group Leaders. He also said that each amendment should be debated and voted on separately, not least because it would also be unfair to speak on amendments en bloc to 3 minutes.
Councillor Hilton agreed that Group Leaders should not be time limited and added that some amendments may need to be addressed to Council which would cause difficulties if Group Leaders were limited to 10 ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
To consider the report of the Head of Paid Service to make changes to the size and membership of Committees to ensure statutory political balance following a change in the Conservative Group.
The Committee considered the report of the Head of Paid Service to make changes to the size and membership of Committees to ensure statutory political balance following a change in the Conservative Group.
It was noted that Councillor Nigel Hanman had resigned from the Conservative Group and would now sit as an Independent Member. There was currently no overall control and the Mayor would have the casting vote at meetings of full Council.
In response to a question from Councillor Coole, it was confirmed that the Mayor or a Committee Chair would have a second or casting vote in the event of a tie.
General Purposes Committee RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND to Council:
1) To reduce the size of all Committees by one with immediate effect
2) To approve the proposed changes to membership of Committees as set out in the report