Agenda and draft minutes

General Purposes Committee - Wednesday, 7th September 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, North Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP. View directions

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair

To note the appointments made by Council at the Annual Meeting on 23 May 2022:

 

  • Chair – Councillor Williams
  • Vice Chair – Councillor Taylor

Minutes:

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

 

 

2.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

 

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2021 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

4.

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

 

To ask a question at this meeting, please submit it to democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk by Friday 2 September 2022 or telephone 01452 396203 for support.

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

 

 

5.

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

Minutes:

There were no petitions and deputations.

 

6.

Constitutional Changes pdf icon PDF 128 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Paid Service concerning the proposed changes to the Council Procedure Rules (Rule 10 and Rule 12) within the Council’s Constitution in respect of questions by the public and Member at meetings.

 

The Managing Director presented the report and advised that at its meeting on 18 November 2021, Council had approved a number of amendments to the Council Procedure Rules and it had been agreed the General Purposes Committee review the operation of those changes after three ordinary meetings of Council. He noted that since the changes had taken place there had been no impact on the number of questions asked at Council and Cabinet meetings by members of the public, however, there had been a significant increase in the number of questions asked by Members, resulting in a significant increase in officer time spent on researching and preparing responses. The Managing Director advised that in response to this, it was proposed that a limit of five questions per Member per meeting for both Council and Cabinet meetings be introduced. He also noted the proposed changes to the restrictions on the content of both public and Member questions.

 

Councillor Wilson stated that he largely supported the proposed criteria for rejecting questions, in particular questions those relating to officers, but had reservations about preventing Members from asking similar questions within in a six month period. He also sought assurance that Members would be able to continue asking questions about matters where the Council had a role as an influencer rather than a decision-maker. He commented on the proposal to limit five questions per Member and suggested that in would better to limit the number of supplementary questions that Members could ask. He did not support the proposal to cease minuting Member questions as this formed part of proceedings and was a useful reference point.

 

Councillor Hilton commented that the proposal limit of five questions per Member could result in an increase in supplementary questions being asked, as Members would use all their available questions; he preferred the suggestion to limit the number of supplementary questions available to each Member. He did not support the proposal for Member questions to be edited by the Managing Director in consultation with the Mayor and stated that there should not be any restrictions on Members asking questions about potentially confidential matters, as it was a matter for the Cabinet Member to determine how to respond to any such question. He also did not support the proposal to reject questions repeated within a 6 month period as it was up to each Member how they chose to utilise their questions. He noted the proposal to re-order questions to ensure that all Members have an opportunity to ask supplementary question and asked that the schedule of questions be circulated as soon as it had been determined.

 

The Vice Chair commented that Members should take a sensible approach when asking questions and was satisfied for the Managing Director, in consultation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.