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Issue - meetings

Review of the Council's Constitution

Meeting: 09/11/2010 - Council (Item 76)

76 Review of the Council's Constitution

With the Chairman’s permission, Mrs Isabel McCord, Chairman of the Standards Committee and the Focus Group on the Review of the Constitution will present the outcome of the review of the Constitution previously requested by Council.


A report by the Monitoring officer which includes the recommendations of the Standards Committee, is attached.



Supporting documents:


Mrs Isabel McCord, Chairman of the Standards Committee and Focus Group on the Constitution introduced this item to Council. She gave a brief synopsis of the work undertaken to review the constitution and urged Councillors to adopt the constitution as revised. She also thanked the Focus Group and officers for all their hard work in reaching this stage.


The Chairman presented a report on the outcome of the review of the constitution. Council in previously adopting a constitution for Wiltshire Council did so on the basis that a review would be undertaken into its effectiveness in light of experience after six months of operation. The Standards Committee was requested to carry out the review which it did by establishing a Focus Group on the Constitution to carry out the detailed work required.


The Focus Group comprised a member from each political group on the Council and representatives from the Standards, Audit and Overview and Scrutiny Resources Select Committees. Members of the Focus Group commented that serving on the Focus Group had been a very positive experience and had been an extremely productive exercise.


The Focus Group had recommended a number of changes to the constitution as reflected in the revised draft constitution made available to all Councillors. The Standards Committee held a special meeting on 26 October 2010 to consider the conclusions and recommendations of the Focus Group. The Standards Committee was satisfied with the detailed work undertaken by the Focus Group and drew up a series of recommendations for Council’s consideration with a view to adopting a revised constitution. To assist Council, a summary of the main changes being recommended was also presented. 


The Chairman referred to the following three issues which remained outstanding:


  • Protocol 7 – Media Relations, the Focus Group had asked for this to be redrafted. It was also noted that this document would need to take account of the proposed new Local Authority Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity once in place.


  • Cabinet member response times – In light of the comments made by the Focus Group and Cabinet members, the Standards Committee had asked this Council to determine the issue believing that it would be useful to include an appropriate timescale for responses.


  • Guidance on amendments to motions – As requested by the Focus Group, the Monitoring Officer had produced this guidance for initial consideration by the Chairman of Council and Group Leaders, details of which were presented.


Cllr Stuart Wheeler, member of the Focus Group agreed to answer questions on the review and recommended changes. Cllr Wheeler confirmed that there had been cross party support for the changes proposed. He also explained that further reviews would be required as a result of emerging legislation including the Localism Bill in particular once enacted.


The Chairman circulated a motion which took on board the recommendations of the Standards Committee and the above mentioned outstanding issues and this was duly seconded by the Vice-Chairman and on being put to the vote, it was




Resolved:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76




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