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Disclosures of Interest
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.
The following disclosure of interest was made:
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Governance Committee held on 19 June 2019.
The minutes of the meeting of the Governance Committee held on 19 June 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
The Head of Legal, Democracy and HR advised the Committee that the changes to the Council’s Code of Conduct for Councillors and Arrangements for Dealing with Code of Conduct Complaints agreed by the Committee at its meeting on 19 June 2019 (minute 3 of that meeting) had been actioned and were included in the draft new Constitution. The Committee noted that the Local Government Association had appointed a company to draft a new model Code of Conduct which was expected to be issued for consultation in Spring 2020. Any revised Code of Conduct for Crawley Borough Council would be considered by the Governance Committee before being put before Full Council for adoption.
To consider report LDS/156 of the Head of Legal, Democracy and HR.
The Committee considered report LDS/156 of the Head of Legal, Democracy and HR which set out the justification for an extension to the current Crawley Borough Council Councillors’ Allowances Scheme (2016-2020) (the “Scheme”), and proposed the establishment of a new Councillors’ Allowances Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP).
The Committee discussed the matter and noted that the change in the timescale for the process was proposed to ensure that any changes to the Scheme would correspond with the Council’s annual Budget timeframes. The Committee was informed that negotiations regarding a pay award for Chief Officers were currently underway. Following a suggestion by a Committee member it was requested that Sussex Police be contacted to gauge the interest of the District Commander (or similar) in being appointed to the IRP.
1. That Full Council be requested to approve the extension of the current Councillors’ Allowances Scheme to encompass the 2020/21 financial year.
2. That the Head of Legal, Democracy and HR, in conjunction with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Governance Committee, be delegated authority to appoint individuals to the Councillors’ Allowances Independent Remuneration Panel.
To consider report LDS/157 of the Chair of the Constitutional Review Working Group and Head of Legal, Democracy and HR.
The Committee considered report LDS/157 of the Head of Legal, Democracy and HR which presented the draft new Constitution of the Council. The draft new Constitution had been written in association with, and unanimously endorsed by, the Constitution Review Working Group (CRWG), based on the principles agreed by the Governance Committee at its meeting on 15 March 2017 (minute 18 of that meeting refers). The aim of the review was to produce a Constitution which was more user friendly, fit for purpose and modern in structure, to enable users to take decisions and/or understand procedures and protocols in a manner that encouraged efficiency.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to Section 5 of report LDS/157 which detailed the structure of the rewritten Constitution and highlighted the sections which had been notably rewritten.
The Head of Legal, Democracy and HR and the Democratic Services Manager provided clarification on a number of issues and advised that, in some cases, it was not be possible to amend phrasing within the Constitution as it reflected that set out in statute. In-depth discussions took place on several specific matters, namely:
Full Council Procedure Rules: Annual Meeting of the Full Council - Order of Business:
With reference to paragraph 2.1 (“Order of Business”) of the Full Council Procedure Rules, it was queried why the agenda items relating to Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest were not dealt with earlier at the Annual Meeting of Full Council. Although some Committee members were happy for the order of business to remain as set out in the new Constitution, several members were in support of moving those agenda items forward, to be the second and third items on the agenda.
It was moved by Councillor Crow (seconded by Councillor McCarthy) that bullet points (g) (“receive any Apologies for Absence”) and (h) (“receive any Declarations of Interest from Councillors”) of paragraph 2.1 be moved to follow bullet point (a) (“elect a non-Cabinet Member to chair the meeting, should the outgoing Mayor and Deputy Mayor not be present”) and that the subsequent bullet points be re-lettered accordingly.
The amendment, upon being put to the Committee, was declared to be CARRIED.
Full Council Procedure Rules: Voting – Recorded Vote:
Following a request from a Committee member and subsequent advice from the Head of Legal, Democracy and HR, the Committee agreed that paragraph 10.4 (“Recorded Vote”) of the Full Council Procedure Rules be amended as follows:
· That the words “political group” in bullet point (a) be amended to read “Political Group Leader or Secretary”.
· That the word “stand” in bullet point (b) be deleted and replaced with “indicate”.
The Committee was assured that, following the Scrutiny Review on Recording how Members vote, all petitions considered by the Full Council would be subject to a recorded vote where the decision was not unanimous.
It was noted that one Councillor could request a recorded vote at Full Council under the current Constitution, and that this had been amended to two Councillors in the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.