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Agenda item

ANNUAL REVIEW AND ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION

 

To consider the recommendations of the Constitution Working Group in respect of proposed amendments to the Council’s Constitution and to adopt the document for the 2019-20 municipal year.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report which outlined how good governance had been a core tenet of the Council’s improvement journey in recent years.  The Constitution had been subject to external review and significant changes have been made to the way in which proposals were developed by Members and officers and how decisions were made across the Authority.

 

As the Constitution was the document that empowered the Authority to discharge its statutory and discretionary responsibilities, it was important that its provisions were reviewed and changes made to strengthen the Council’s governance and accountability arrangements.

 

This report, therefore, having been considered by the Constitution Working Group, was submitted to enable the Council to approve the Constitution for the 2019/20 municipal year and adopt amendments to various provisions which were set out in detail as part of the report and specifically:-

 

·             Public questions to Overview and Scrutiny Management Board relating to items on the agenda.

·             Procedure for the election of Mayor-Elect and Deputy Mayor-Elect.

·             Questions on minutes reported into Council.

·             Increasing the word limit for questions to Council for both Members and the public.

·             Maximising the number of Member questions to Council.

·             Amendments to the Petitions Scheme.

·             Amendments to te Employment Procedure Rules and Officer Code of Conduct.

·             Amendments to the Terms of Reference for the Employment Appeals Panel, Audit Committee, Health and Wellbeing Board, Staffing Committee and Chief Officer Disciplinary Panel.

·             Delegated authority for minor amendments to the Constitution.

 

Members sought clarity on the number of questions and if this was as a whole to spokespersons and cabinet members/chairs and the majority supported and welcomed the amendments to the Constitution as proposed.

 

Councillor Carter was unable to offer his support believing the amendments stifled public debate and found the changes unacceptable.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the Constitution of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council be adopted for the 2019-20 municipal year.

 

(2)  That the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 14.2 be amended so as to enable public questions to be submitted to the Chairperson of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board or Select Commissions in respect of matters to be considered on the agenda for the meeting at which they are in attendance.

 

(3)  That a new Council Procedure Rule 8(2) be inserted to establish a procedure for the designation of a Mayor-Elect and Deputy Mayor-Elect at the final meeting of the Council in a municipal year.

 

(4)  That a new Council Procedure Rule 10(10) be inserted to establish a procedure for Members to ask questions in respect of the minutes reported to Council of meetings of the Cabinet and committees and for such questions to be responded to by the Leader of the Council, relevant Cabinet Member or Chairperson.

 

(5)  That the word limit for general questions submitted by Members under Council Procedure Rule 11 be increased from 50 words to 60 words.

 

(6)  That Council Procedure Rule 11(8) be amended to provide for the number of verbal questions asked under Council Procedure Rule 11 to be limited to a maximum of ten verbal questions per Member, with an equal number of supplementary questions, with written responses to be provided for all other questions submitted.

 

(7)  That the word limit for questions submitted by members of the public under Council Procedure Rule 12 be increased from 50 words to 60 words. 

 

(8)  That the Council’s Petition Scheme be amended to:-

 

(a)        Require that petitions be addressed to the Council, rather than specific Members or officers.

(b)        Define vexatious petitions and how a petition will be deemed vexatious by the Monitoring Officer

(c)        Remove the provision for Lead Petitioners to request the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board to review responses to petitions and confirm that such requests should be referred to the Council’s Complaints Procedures.

 

(8)  That Officer Employment Procedure Rules and Officer Code of Conduct be amended, as set out in Appendix 3.

 

(9)  That the terms of reference of the Employment Appeals Panel, Audit Committee, Health and Wellbeing Board, Staffing Committee and Chief Officer Disciplinary Panel be amended, as set out in Appendix 4.

 

(10)  That authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer and Head of Democratic Services to make any minor consequential amendments to the Constitution arising from any changes made in the recommendations above.

 

Mover:-  Councillor Read                       Seconder:-  Councillor Cowles

Supporting documents: