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Agenda Item No. 9

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Council Meeting: 16th December, 2015

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

Review of the Council's Constitution

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To apprise Members of work undertaken in respect the Constitution since the document was approved by Council on 28th September, 2015.

Recommendations

1.                That the amendments made to the Constitution since its approval by Council on 28th September 2015 be noted.

2.                That the Council's existing Licensing Committee arrangements be replaced by the setting up of two Licensing Committees, i.e. a "Statutory Licensing Committee" and a "Public Protection Licensing Committee".

3.                The Terms of Reference of the two Committees be as set out in Appendix A to the report and both Committees comprise the same existing Licensing Committee members.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.                To accord with the delegation granted by Council on 28th September 2015 to the Monitoring Officer to make such changes.

2&3.                To review the Licensing Committee arrangements to reflect legal guidance.

Background

  1. In approving a revised Council Constitution on 28th September, 2015, Council also authorised the Monitoring Officer to make any minor amendments, correct typographical or drafting errors and ensure all cross references within the Constitution are correct prior to publication; these being reported to Members accordingly. It was further resolved that the Monitoring Officer be authorised to undertake a review of the Licensing Committee arrangements operating within the Council, in consultation with Group Leaders and reflect the same in the Constitution.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Since the September meeting, and as part of the cross-checking of the document, the opportunity has been taken to clarify the definition of Chief Officer and to insert footnotes and updates regarding various legislative provisions which have been repealed / replaced. In addition, and at the request of the Council's Internal Audit Section, two specific amendments (shown in bold below) have been made to the Financial Procedure Rules and Contracts Procedure Rules as follows:
  • Financial Procedure Rule 16.1.3 amended to read "These Rules are intended to be read in conjunction with the Council's Contracts Procedure Rules (CPRs) and will be supported, where necessary, by Financial Procedure Notes which give instructions on specific areas of financial control. These rules apply to schools, who must also have regard to the Financial Scheme for Schools, which is based on the legislative requirements of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.
  • Contracts Procedure Rules 17.4.2 to be amended to include reference to 'the officer from time to time with operational responsibility for Internal Audit'.
  1. In accordance with the decision of Council of 28th September, 2015, all Group Leaders (together with the Chairman of Licensing Committee) were contacted regarding the Licensing Committee arrangements. The delegation to undertake a review was designed to address the issue of whether the Council should, in fact, have two distinct Licensing Committees (in essence a 'statutory' and a 'general' one). Having considered the Council's existing arrangements and also taking into account specific guidance issued in 2014, draft Terms of Reference for two distinct committees were drawn up and circulated to Group Leaders for consideration. These are attached as Appendix A to the report. It can be seen that the 'statutory' Licensing Committee will be responsible for all matters regulated by the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act 2005. It is proposed that the 'general' Committee be entitled the 'Public Protection Committee'. This second Committee would discharge those licensing activities which are not governed by the 2003 or 2005 Acts and which do not fall within the remit of the:

         (i)                Council, any of its Committees or the Executive

         (ii)                The joint Committee for Shared Regulatory Services.

 

         Both Committees would be able to appoint Sub-Committees if desired.

  1. As the two Committees will need to be separately constituted, the 'statutory' Licensing Committee does not need to be politically balanced (although it can be) as it would not be a Committee created under the Local Government Act 1972. However, the other Committee would have to be politically balanced. As such, if the Membership of both Committees is the same, only one need count (as it does now) in terms of the overall political balance calculations. Subject to those provisions, both Committees can, indeed, comprise the same Members and have a similar structure with regard to Sub-Committees.
  2. No adverse comments were received from any of the Group Leaders or the Chairman of the Licensing Committee. Revised Licensing Committee arrangements, incorporating two distinct Committees with the Terms of Reference as set out in Appendix A to the report, and each comprising the same existing Licensing Committee members, are, therefore, recommended for approval.
  3. The revised version of the Constitution will be uploaded onto the Council's website this month.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None as a direct result of this report

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None as a direct result of this report

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Council is required to comply with the Local Government Act 2000 and subordinate legislation in the drawing up and subsequent operation of the Constitution.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The Constitution has been updated to reflect current legislation and, where considered appropriate, the contents of the revised Model Constitution.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None as a direct result of this report

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The Constitution is part of the framework supporting the Council's commitment to provide political leadership and active relationship and engagement

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The adoption and subsequent changing of the Constitution is a matter for the Full Council

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The monitoring and amendment of the Constitution is an internal matter and therefore no external consultation is necessary

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Council's Constitution

Report to Council - 28th September, 2015

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Tel: 01446 709408

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Head of Finance

Responsible Officer:

Debbie Marles, Monitoring Officer

 

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