Agenda and minutes

Constitution Working Party
Wednesday, 8th February, 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 5, Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Craig Ainsworth  (0161 474 3204)

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 October 2016.

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 20 October 2016 were approved as a correct record.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors and Officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

3.

Democratic and Constitutional Review

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The report sets out the items to be considered at this meeting of the Working Party.

 

The Working Party is requested to note the report.

 

Officer contact: Craig Ainsworth on 0161 474 3204 or email: craig.ainsworth@stockport.gov.uk

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out the items which were to be considered at this meeting of the Working Party.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

4.

CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW - AREA COMMITTEES

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The Labour Group has suggested that proposals be developed to ensure (i) the work of Area Committees better reflects the changing and increasing role of Councillors and, in particular, moves towards place-based working and (ii) that all Area Committees have similar powers, including responsibility for town centre planning returning to the Central Stockport Area Committee.

 

The Liberal Democrat Group has asked for a review of the Area Committee boundaries, in particular (but not limited to) revisiting the split of Cheadle Hulme across two Area Committees.

 

In addition, the Monitoring Officer has reviewed the existing Area Committee Functions and Schedule 1 to the report sets out some suggested amendments to the duties and responsibilities which better reflect the current position.

 

The Working Party is invited to comment on the proposed revised delegation to Area Committees set out at Appendix 1 and  proposals contained in this report.

 

Officer Contact: Craig Ainsworth on 0161 474 3204 or email: craig.ainsworth@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out a series of constitutional issues as they affected the current role and composition of the Council’s Area Committees.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the Working Party recommends that:-

 

·         the Town Centre Committee be abolished and the planning decision making procedures set out in paragraph 3.1.3 of the report be adopted.

·         the definition of strategic planning applications be altered to include Environmental Impact Assessment applications, as set out in paragraph 3.2 of the report.

·         the Ward Flexibility Fund be delegated to Area Committees, as set out in paragraph 3.4 of the report.

·         the Ward and Joint Committees requested by Ward Councillors be delegated to Area Committees. as set out in paragraph 3.4 of the report.

  • the proposals relating to Area Committees acting as ‘Trustees’ in relation to the disposal of Charitable land, as set out in paragraph 3.6 of the report and Appendix 3, be approved.
  • the proposals relating to Commuted Sums, as set out in paragraph 3.7 of the report, be approved.
  • the miscellaneous drafting matters, as set out in paragraph 4 of the report, with the exception of those relating to property matters, be approved.
  • the revised delegations to Area Committees, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved, but that the issue be reconsidered in twelve months’ time in the light of health and social care integration.

 

(2) That, with regard to the issues affecting Area Committee boundaries as set out in paragraph 3.3 of the report, a report be submitted to the next meetings of the Bramhall & Cheadle Hulme South Area Committee and the Cheadle Area Committee seeking Members’ views.

5.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority Scrutiny decision making pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer.

 

This report describes the emerging proposals for Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) decision making and invited members to consider proposals for the advance consideration of certain GMCA decisions by the Council.

 

The Working Party is recommended to note the proposed scrutiny and decision making arrangements of the GMCA and recommend the proposed broader remit of the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee for approval by the Council Meeting.

 

Officer contact Celia Tierney on Tel: 0161 474 3230 or by email on celia.tierney@stockport.gov.uk

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) describing the emerging proposals for Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) decision making and invited Members to consider proposals for the advance consideration of certain GMCA decisions by the Council.

 

The Working Party was advised that the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee at its meeting held on 6 February 2017 had noted the proposed scrutiny and decision making arrangements of the GMCA and agreed to support the proposed broader remit of this Committee and it recommended that the Head of Legal and Democratic Governance seek a formal protocol with the GMCA to replace the existing protocol relating to the GMCA, Transport for Greater Manchester Committee and Transport for Greater Manchester and ensure that sufficient notice of the proposed date of decisions requiring the consent  of Stockport was given to elected Members of the Council so as to enable prior debate and scrutiny within the Council.

 

The Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee further requested the Head of Legal and Democratic Governance to write to the Chief Executive of the Combined Authority suggesting that meetings of the Scrutiny Panel be held in the evening rather than during the day as at present which made it difficult for working councillors and members of the public to attend.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the Monitoring Officer be requested to agree a protocol for GMCA scrutiny with the Monitoring Officer for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

 

(2) That following agreement to the protocol referred to in (1) above, a further report be submitted to the Working Party with options as to how the scrutiny would take place within the structure of scrutiny committees at the Council.

 

(3) That the Working Party recommends that the remit of the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee be not broadened and that it retains its current terms of reference.

6.

Draft Review of Stockport Council's Scrutiny Arrangements pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer.

 

This report outlines proposed changes required to the Constitution in relation to the Scrutiny Function.

 

The Working Party is requested to recommend to the Council Meeting  that the changes set out in the report and any consequential amendments required to give effect to the changes.

 

Officer Contact: Craig Ainsworth on 0161 474 3204 or by email on craig.ainsworth@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated outlining proposed changes required to the Constitution in relation to the Scrutiny Function.

 

The Working Party was advised that at the meeting of the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee held on 6 February 2017 it had been agreed that the Committee welcome the proposals to expand the remit of the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee and that the Constitution Working Party be recommended to support the changes as set out in this report and any consequential amendments required to give effect to the changes.

 

RESOLVED – That the Working Party recommends that the proposal to broaden the remit of the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee be not supported and that the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee retains it original purpose as a co-ordinating committee not a scrutiny committee.

 

7.

Constitutional Review – Individual Member Functions pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The report sets out proposed changes to the delegations to individual Members.

 

The Working Party is requested to comment on and note the proposed changes and of the Monitoring Officer’s intention to seek the Leader’s approval in time for inclusion in the revised Constitution to be approved at the Annual Council Meeting.

 

Officer Contact: Celia Tierney on 0161 474 3230 or email: celia.tierney@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out proposed changes to the delegations to individual Members.

 

RESOLVED – That the Working Party recommends that the proposed changes to the delegations to individual Members be approved and the Monitoring Officer’s intention to seek the Leader’s approval to the revisions in time for inclusion in the Constitution for 2017/18 be supported.

8.

Review of the appointment of Council Champions

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The report reviews the appointment of Council Champions for the 2017/18 Municipal Year.

 

The Constitution Working Party is requested to consider:

 

           The proposed process for appointing ‘Champions’ as set out in section 3 above.

           The proposed ‘Protocol on Member Champions’ as set out in Appendix 1

           The proposed ‘Role of Member Champions’ as set out in Appendix 2

 

Officer Contact: Craig Ainsworth on 0161 474 3204 or email: craig.ainsworth@stockport.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) reviewing the appointment of Council Champions for the 2017/18 Municipal Year.

 

RESOLVED  -That Working Party recommends that the proposed process for appointing Council Champions, the draft protocol on Council Champions and the role of Council Champions, as set out in the report, be approved, subject to:-

 

  • Executive Councillors not being appointed as Council Champions if the subject area falls within their portfolio.
  • the promotion of Council Champions on the Council’s website.
  • the Leader of the Council being authorised to agree any additional Council Champions during the course of a Municipal Year.

 

9.

Review of Appointments to Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The report considers the current process for the nomination of councillors and officers to outside bodies and the bodies which are currently being nominated to.

 

The Working Party is requested to comment on the schedule attached to the report.

 

Officer Contact: Jonathan Vali on 0161 474 3201 or email: jonathan.vali@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which considered the current process for the nomination of councillors and officers to outside bodies and the bodies which are currently being nominated to.

 

RESOLVED:- That the Working Party recommends that the proposals in the report be approved, subject to the Democratic Services Manger being requested to prepare a template for each Member who is appointed to an outside body to complete at the end of the Municipal Year in order to provide feedback on their work undertaken whilst serving on the outside body.

 

10.

Constitutional Review – General review of the Constitution pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The report examines the Constitution as a whole with a view to:-

 

·         ensuring consistency between the various parts of the Constitution

·         reducing the size of the Constitution while ensuring that it meets legal requirements

·         improving the quality of the drafting so that it is clear and comprehensible

·         creating a companion guide to the Constitution that can quickly and easily be amended to assist elected Members and staff to understand the Council’s Constitution.

 

The Working Party is invited to comment on the proposed changes set out in the report and to recommend to the Leader of the Council and Council Meeting that the changes should be adopted along with any other drafting changes to ensure that the Constitution is internally consistent, compliant with the law and up to date.

 

Officer Contact: Celia Tierney on 0161 474 3230 or email: celia.tierney@stockport.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which examined the Constitution as a whole with regard to:-

 

·         ensuring consistency between the various parts of the Constitution

·         reducing the size of the Constitution while ensuring that it meets legal requirements

·         improving the quality of the drafting so that it is clear and comprehensible

·         creating a companion guide to the Constitution that can quickly and easily be amended to assist elected Members and staff to understand the Council’s Constitution.

 

RESOLVED - That the Working Party recommends that:-

 

·         none of the proposed changes to the Constitution be implemented prior to the proposed companion document to the Constitution being prepared for consideration by the Working Party, particularly the process for dealing with how land transactions would operate.

 

·         from the start of the 2017/18 the Municipal Year the ‘Executive’ should be known as the ‘Cabinet’.

 

·         that any individual delegations agreed by the Executive Meeting would override the general delegations in the Constitution.

 

11.

Constitutional Review - Code of Conduct for Councillors and Officers Dealing with Planning and Development Matters pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer.

 

The report details proposed amendments to the Council’s Constitution, specifically, that CP9, CP10 and CP 11 should be merged into a single document covering all elements of Council conduct which relate to planning matters.  It is considered that this approach would increase the likelihood of both Councillors and member of the public finding the information about conduct relating to Planning.

 

The Working Party is requested to comment on the report.

 

Officer contact: Celia Tierney on 0161 474 3230 or email: celia.tierney@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) detailing proposed amendments to the Council’s Constitution, specifically that CP9, CP10 and CP11 should be merged into a single document covering all elements of Council conduct which relate to planning matters, making the information more easily accessible.

 

Members of the Working Party expressed concern about paragraph 11.7 of CP9 – Code of Conduct for Councillors and Officers dealing with Planning and Development Matters and its interpretation of Section 25(2) of the Localism Act 2011 and having an ‘open or ‘closed’ mind and a ‘settled view’ on a development application.

 

RESOLVED – That CP9 - Code of Conduct for Councillors and Officers dealing with Planning and Development Matters be revised and re-submitted to a future meeting of the Working Party.

12.

Constitutional Review – Financial Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The report sets out the proposed updates to the Financial Procedure Rules as a result of a review undertaken during autumn 2016.

 

The Working Party is requested to recommend that the revisions be recommended for adoption by the Council Meeting as part of the Council’s Constitution.

 

Officer Contact: Celia Tierney on 0161 474 3230 or email: celia.tierney@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out proposed updates to the Financial Procedure Rules as a result of the review undertaken during autumn 2016.

 

RESOLVED – That the Working Party recommends that the proposed changes to the Financial Procedure Rules be approved.