Agenda item

Revisions to the Constitution

Report of the Leader


The Leader introduced the report, saying openness, transparency and inclusivity are key fundamental principles of the council, and the Constitution acts as our ‘rule book’ to ensure the public and Members understand the decisions we make and how we make them.  The Constitution Working Group has been working closely with the Monitoring Office to make it easier to navigate and understand, with a whole raft of proposed changes, including:


-       change to the rules on substitutes, allowing any member to substitute for another in their group, provided the required training has been undertaken;

-       the introduction of a key set of parameters around the submission of funding bids and acceptance of grants to enhance the council’s system of control and governance;

-       keeping webcasts of all meetings available on line for four years;

-       the use of electronic signatures and seals, once a guidance document has been provided clearly setting out parameters on use;

-       an updated flow chart on the procedure for motions.


She thanked the Monitoring Officer and Constitution Working Group for their hard work.


In response to a Member’s question, the Leader confirmed that:

-       thorough cyber security vigilance will be applied before electronic signatures are used widely, as the opportunity for fraud is recognised;

-       it was down to planners to consider the situation regarding prior approval for telecom masts, which currently give the public little opportunity to raise concerns; a change to the constitution regarding this could not be guaranteed.


The Chair of Planning added that the legislation is such that telecom mast applications cannot be referred to Planning Committee, but there is still process for engagement, and officers have refused permission for masts on the grounds of location, appearance and design.  He agreed that it was important for the community to be aware of applications to install them, and to engage in the process.  He encouraged all Members to attend the upcoming planning training session.


In debate, Members made the following comments:

-       licensing, like planning, requires training, either in-house or through the LGA or Institute of Licensing; Members should be encouraged to take this up;

-       the use of electronic signatures is good progress;

-       keeping meetings on line for longer is good for both councillors and the public;

-       the removal of all gender references is refreshing to see;

-       the flexibility on substitution is to be welcomed.




1.    authority is delegated to the Monitoring Officer to update the document to reflect the current accessibility, equity, equality, diversity and inclusivity requirements, including gender neutralization;

2.    the provisions regarding substitutes as set out in part 6 of this report are approved;

3.    the revised debate flowchart to replace the existing version in Appendix G of the Constitution is approved ;

4.    the amendments to Part 3 (Responsibility for Functions) as set out in part 8 of this report are approved;

5.    authority is delegated to the Monitoring Officer to make further amendments to Part 3 to ensure that officers delegations reflect the current structure and sit at the appropriate level;

6.    the amendments regarding webcasting and the retention of recordings as set out in part 9 of this report are approved;

7.    the use of electronic signatures and seals as set out in part 10 of this report is approved

8.    authority is delegated to the Monitoring Officer to make the necessary changes to the Constitution to reflect these decisions.



Supporting documents: