Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair

To note the appointments made by Council at the Annual Meeting on 24 May 2021:-


  • Chair – Councillor Williams
  • Vice Chair – Councillor Taylor



The Committee noted the appointments made by Annual Council of Councillor Williams as Chair and Councillor Taylor as Vice-Chair of the Committee.


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.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2021.


The minutes of the meeting held on 12th January 2021 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 or deputations.


Constitutional Changes pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Paid Service concerning proposed changes to the council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the report of the Head of Paid Service concerning proposed changes to the Council Procedure Rules within the Council’s Constitution in respect of questions by the public and elected Members at meetings.


The Chair introduced the report, explaining that the proposals centred around the introduction of a notice period for questions by both Councillors and members of the public at Council and Committee meeting, and asked the committee for their comments.


Councillor Hilton stated that he did not support the proposal to require notice of questions in advance. In respect of public questions, he indicated that the existing informal approach whereby members of the public could turn up on the day to ask a question worked well and that there was a risk that the question time facility could become overloaded with questions from single issue groups who would then not attend to ask their questions in person. In respect of questions from Councillors, he raised concerns that the burden for providing detailed answers would be passed on to officers instead of answers being given in real time by Cabinet Members. He stated that the current system whereby opinion-based questions were dealt with under verbal questions, and technical questions were dealt with under written questions worked well and should not be changed to a more restrictive approach, noting that Cabinet Members should be well briefed and Councillors were not always in a position to submit questions in advance. He noted that the requirement for 5 clear working days’ notice for questions to be asked by Councillors at meetings of the Cabinet did not allow sufficient time for Councillors to consider the reports on the agenda before submitting any questions.


Councillor Pullen stated that requiring notice for public questions would create an additional unwanted barrier to engagement, but that he supported the proposal to allow members of the public to request that their question be read out if they were unable to attend a meeting in person. In respect of questions by Councillors, he raised concerns that requiring notice would stifle debate and have a negative impact on the council’s meetings. He noted that he was generally satisfied with the verbal answers provided under the current system and saw no benefit to changing it.


Councillors Hilton and Pullen noted that the proposal had not been discussed with Group Leaders in advance.


Councillor Wilson stated that he could not identify any benefits to changing the current approach to questions, as the proposals would result in more work for officers and barriers for the public, and Councillors would lose the ability to be spontaneous during meetings. He stated that the proposals would make the council less accountable to the public and would put members of the public off from engaging in the democratic process.


In response to a question from Councillor Taylor, the Managing Director advised that the requirement for notice was common practice at some councils and the Chair noted that Gloucestershire County Council also required notice.


In response  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.