Draft Constitution

Word 1 - meaning

Word 2 - meaning

Word 3 - meaning

And so on.... 

What is the Constitution

Our Constitution sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people.  Some of these processes are required by the law, while others are a matter for the Council to choose.

How we operate

We are composed of 45 councillors elected every four years. Councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their ward. The overriding duty of Councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.

Councillors have to agree to follow a code of conduct to ensure high standards in the way they undertake their duties.

All councillors meet together as the Council. Meetings of the Council are normally open to the public. Here Councillors decide the Council’s policy framework and set the budget each year. The Council elects the Leader of the Executive and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council by secret ballot.

The remaining members of the Executive or ‘Cabinet’ are appointed by the Leader, who will also appoint a Cabinet member to be Deputy Leader.

Cabinet members hold office until they resign, are no longer councillors or are removed by the Leader.  The Council can remove the Leader under certain circumstances.

Full Council also appoints committees, some of which carry out regulatory functions which by law may not be the responsibility of the Cabinet, for example planning and licensing. 

How Decisions Are Made

The Cabinet is responsible for most day-to-day decisions. The Cabinet is made up of the Leader and up to nine other councillors. When major decisions are to be discussed or made these are published in the Cabinet’s Notice of Key Decisions in so far as they can be anticipated. If these major decisions are to be discussed with council officers at a meeting of the Leader and Cabinet, this will generally be open for the public to attend, except where personal or confidential matters are being discussed. The Cabinet has to make decisions which are in line with the Council’s overall policy framework and budget. If it wishes to make a decision which is outside the budget or policy framework, this must be referred to the Council as a whole to decide.

Scrutiny and Overview

We have a Scrutiny and Overview Committee which may pre-scrutinise and review the decisions of the Cabinet.  It may make reports and recommendations to the Cabinet and to the Council on policies, budget and service delivery. It may involve non-councillors from other public bodies, voluntary and community groups in its work and undertake enquiries into matters of local concern.   The Scrutiny and Overview Committee also monitors the decisions of the Cabinet and can ‘call-in’ a decision which has been made but not yet implemented. This enables it to consider whether the decision is appropriate. It may recommend that the Cabinet reconsider the decision. The Scrutiny and Overview Committee may also be consulted by the Cabinet or the Council on forthcoming decisions. 

Our Officers

The Council has people working for it (called ‘officers’) to give advice, implement decisions and manage the day-to-day delivery of its services. Some officers have a specific duty to ensure that the Council acts within the law and uses its resources wisely.

Citizens’ Rights

Citizens have a number of rights in their dealings with the Council. These are set out in in Article 3.

The table below sets out responsibility for the functions where there is a choice whether these are functions of Council or Cabinet in accordance with the Local Authorities (Functions and Responsibilities) (England) Regulations 2000 (as amended). 

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Function

Responsibility

 

Delegation of Functions

Any function under a local Act.

Council

None

The determination of appeals in respect

of disciplinary action or grievance

Council

 

Employment and Staffing Committee or panel thereof where not delegated to officers elsewhere in this Constitution

Functions relating to contaminated land.

Cabinet

Director of Health and Environmental Services

Functions relating to the control of pollution or the management of air quality

Cabinet

Director of Health and Environmental Services

Service of an abatement notice in respect of a statutory nuisance

Cabinet

Director of Health and Environmental Services

Passing of a resolution that Schedule 2 to the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 should apply in the Authority’s area

Cabinet

Director of Health and Environmental Services

Inspection of the Authority’s area to detect statutory nuisances

Cabinet

Director of Health and Environmental Services

Investigation of complaints as to the existence of statutory nuisances

Cabinet

Director of Health and Environmental Services

Obtaining of information under Section 330 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as to interests in land

Cabinet

Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development

Obtaining of information under Section 16 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous

Provisions) Act 1976 as to interests in land

Cabinet

All Directors

Appointments to Outside Bodies and revocation of such appointments (except where specifically reserved to Council)

 

Cabinet

Leader of the Council

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Council

Membership

 

 

Functions

 

Delegation of Functions

All 45 Members of the District Council

The functions which are reserved to the Council are set out in Article 4.02 of the  Constitution

 

 None, save as otherwise specified in Article 4.02.

The Council has established the following committees with the respective composition of members to carry out the functions set out in the second column of the Table 3 below subject to the delegation of functions prescribed in the third column thereof.  All functions can be further delegated downwards to committees, sub-committees, panels or officers, subject to law and the Scheme of Delegation.

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Civic Affairs Committee

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

9 councillors, including the Chairman of Council, as an ex officio member).

Appointments to be subject to the requirements of political proportionality.

 

Review of the Council’s Constitution:

  • To bring forward proposals which, in the opinion of the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer, entail substantive changes to the Constitution, for consideration by the Council, excluding those matters which are specifically included within the remit of other bodies on the Council.

 

 

 

Electoral Arrangements:

Determination as follows:

  • review district or parish electoral arrangements including boundaries and report recommendations to Council
  • give parish meetings powers of parish council
  • increase / reduce number of parish councillors
  • change parish electoral arrangements where agreed including parish warding
  • appoint temporary parish councillors, s. 91 LGA, 1972

 

Recommend to Council:

  • district and district ward boundary changes arising from review
  • parish warding and boundary changes where not agreed
  • Periodic Electoral Review
  • new parish establishment

 

 

 

Ethical Standards:

As set out in Article 9.03

Functions relating to standards of conduct of members under any relevant provision of, or regulations made under the Localism Act 2011, are delegated to a sub committee which shall comprise 3 members of the Civic Affairs Committee, plus

the Independent Person.

 

The Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Chairman of the Civic Affairs Committee, is authorised to appoint to the sub committee as and when it is required to be convened.

 

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Audit and Corporate Governance Committee

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

7 councillors, who are not members of the Cabinet, appointed in accordance with the rules of political balance.

 

The Chairman of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee shall not be eligible to Chair the Committee although he / she may be a member of it. 

 

 

 

Statement of Purpose

1. The Audit and Corporate Governance Committee is a key component of the Council’s corporate governance framework. It provides an independent and high-level focus on the audit, assurance and reporting arrangements that underpin good governance and financial standards.

2. The purpose of the committee is to provide independent assurance of the adequacy of the risk management framework and the internal control environment. It provides independent review of the governance, risk management and control frameworks; and oversees the financial reporting and annual governance processes. It oversees internal audit and external audit, helping to ensure efficient and effective assurance arrangements are in place.

 

Governance, risk and control

3. To review the Council’s corporate governance arrangements against the good governance framework, ethical frameworks, and to consider the Local Code of Governance.

 

4. To review the Annual Governance Statement prior to approval and consider whether it properly reflects the risk environment and supporting assurances, taking into account internal audit’s opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s framework of governance, risk management and control.

 

5. To consider the Council’s arrangements to secure value for money and review assurances and assessments on the effectiveness of these arrangements.

6. To consider the Council’s framework of assurance and ensure that it adequately addresses the risks and priorities of the council. 

7. To monitor the effective development and operation of risk management in the Council, and to monitor progress in addressing risk-related issues reported to the committee.

8. To consider reports on the effectiveness of internal controls and monitor the implementation of agreed actions.

9. To review the assessment of fraud risks and potential harm to the council from fraud and corruption, and to monitor the counter-fraud strategy, actions and resources.

10. To review the governance and assurance arrangements for significant partnerships or collaborations.

11. To maintain an overview of the main instruments of financial control, such as Standing Orders in relation to Contracts, Financial Regulations; and, where appropriate, make recommendations to the Council for improvement.

12. To receive quarterly updates on the Council’s use of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) powers and to review the policy on an annual basis.

Internal audit

13.  To approve the Internal Audit Charter, and provide free and unfettered access to the Audit Committee Chair for the Head of Internal Audit, including the opportunity for a private meeting with the committee.

14.  To consider any impairments to independence or objectivity arising from additional roles or responsibilities outside of internal auditing of the Head of Internal Audit. To approve and periodically review safeguards to limit such impairments.

15.  To approve the Risk-Based Internal Audit Plan, including internal audit’s resource requirements, and the approach to using other sources of assurance.

16.  To consider reports from the Head of Internal Audit during the year, including updates on the work of internal audit, key findings, issues of concern and actions.

17.  To consider the Head of Internal Audit’s annual report, including:

(a)  the results of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Program, plus conformance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and the Local Government Application Note;

(b)  the opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the council’s framework of governance, risk management and control together with the summary of the work supporting the opinion

 External Audit

 18.  To ensure the independence of external audit through consideration of the external auditor’s annual assessment of its independence; and review of any issues raised by Public Sector Audit Appointments, or the authority’s auditor panel, as appropriate.

19.  To consider the external auditor’s annual letter, relevant reports and the report to those charged with governance.

20.  To consider specific reports as agreed with the external auditor.

21.  To monitor management actions, in response to external audit.

22.  To comment on the scope and depth of external audit work and to ensure it gives value for money.

23.  To commission work from internal and external audit.

24.  To advise and recommend on the effectiveness of relationships between external and internal audit and other inspection agencies or relevant bodies.

 Financial Reporting

25.  To review the annual Statement of Accounts, prior to approval in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations, to consider whether appropriate accounting policies have been followed and whether there are concerns arising from the financial statements or from the audit that need to be brought to the attention of the Council.

26.  To notify Council with regard to conclusion and submission of the Statement of Accounts, and provide feedback for any potential opportunities for improvements to be proposed.

27.  To consider the external auditor’s report to those charged with governance on issues arising from the audit of the accounts.

Accountability Arrangements

 28.  To report to those charged with governance on the committee’s findings, conclusions and recommendations concerning the adequacy and effectiveness of their governance, risk management and internal control frameworks, financial reporting arrangements, and internal and external audit functions.

29.  To publish an annual report on the work of the committee, and report on the committee’s performance in relation to the terms of reference and the effectiveness of the committee in meeting its purpose.

 

 

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Employment and Staffing Committee

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

7 councillors, including at least one from the Cabinet who shall normally be the lead cabinet member with responsibility for staffing matters.

 

When overseeing the recruitment to the roles of Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance Officer and Monitoring Officer the Committee will normally include the Leader and the Leader of the Major Opposition Group.

 

The Committee shall not be chaired by a Cabinet member.

1. To consider appeals and grievances by employees of the Council where  the Council’s disciplinary and grievance appeals provide for a right of appeal to members. 

Employee Appeals Panel.

 

2. To make arrangements for the appointment of the Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance Officer, Monitoring Officer and Directors.

This Committee’s responsibilities will include determining:

(a)  the Job Description and Person Specification of the above posts.

(b)   whether the post should be advertised externally and, if so, how it should be advertised and who should run the external recruitment process.

(c)   interim arrangements for a vacant Head of Paid Service post, if  necessary

These steps should be taken before a Senior Officers Appointments Panel is appointed to manage the selection process.

 

The Head of Paid Service, after consultation with the Leader, relevant lead cabinet member and Chairman of the Employment and Staffing Committee, is authorised to make interim arrangements for a vacant Director, Chief Finance Officer or Monitoring Officer post. 

 

Designation of a person as the Council’s Head of Paid Service, Monitoring Officer and Chief Finance Officer remains the responsibility of full Council.

 

 

3. To be responsible for the selection and appointment of the Chief Executive / Head of Paid Service, Executive Director, Monitoring Officer, Chief Finance Officer and Directors in accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules.

 

Senior Officers Appointments Panel

 

4. To suspend the Head of Paid Service, Executive Director, Monitoring Officer, Chief Finance Officer and / or Directors.

 

The Chairman of the Committee.

 

5. To take disciplinary action (short of dismissal) in respect of the Head of Paid Service, the Chief Finance Officer, the Monitoring Officer or  (including dismissal), in respect of Directors.

 

6. Where it is proposed to dismiss the Head of Paid Service, the Chief Finance Officer or the Monitoring Officer, to perform the Cabinet notification procedure and, if appropriate, to refer the matter for consideration by the Independent Panel *.

Investigating and Disciplinary  Panel

 

 

 

 

 

*Responsibility for making recommendations to full Council relating to the dismissal of the Head of Paid Service, the Chief Finance Officer or Monitoring Officer is vested in the Independent Panel in accordance with Schedule 3 to the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) Regulations 2001.

 

 

7.To keep under review local terms and conditions of employment for employees.

 

8.To promote and pursue a policy of equal opportunities in employment and review key information before it is published i.e. Gender Pay Reporting.

9. To consider matters relating to superannuation, pensions and gratuities

10. To keep under review:

(a) the requirements for, and the availability of skills and capacity necessary for the delivery of the Council’s objectives ;

(b) the promotion of good employee relations in the Council; and

(c) the promotion of equal opportunities for all employees of the Council, and in the Council's recruitment and selection procedures, and to monitor the effectiveness of such measures.

11.  To keep under review the People and Organisational Development Strategy.

12.  To review and recommend the Annual Pay Policy Statement prior to submission to Council.

13.  To undertake reviews and conduct such research on employment and staffing related matters as may be commissioned by the Cabinet from time to time and to make recommendation to Cabinet as appropriate.

14.  To identify and recommend Cabinet on any employment and staffing related matters which it is considered should be subject to review and recommendation by the Committee.

 

 

 

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Senior Officers Appointments Panel

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

Panel appointed by the Monitoring Officer on an ad hoc basis comprising 3 councillors (for Director appointments) and at least 5 councillors (for Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance Officer and Monitoring Officer appointments) chosen by the Chairman of the Employment and Staffing Committee (or Vice-Chairman in his/her absence) from a pool of all members and substitutes of the Employment and Staffing Committee) and including at least one Member of the Cabinet.

For the appointment of:

(a) Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance Officer and Monitoring Officer:

Membership will normally include the Leader and lead cabinet member for staffing.

(b) Directors: membership will normally include the lead cabinet member for staffing or a relevant lead cabinet member

So far as circumstances allow, the composition of the panel will comply with the principles of proportionality and Council policy and good practice on equalities.

To manage the appointment of the Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance Officer, Monitoring Officer and Directors.

Specifically to:

(a) shortlist, interview and:-

(i) recommend to Council appointment  of  the Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance Officer and Monitoring Officer and

(ii)   appoint Directors

in accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules.

 

 

 

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Investigating and Disciplinary Panel

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

Panel appointed by the Monitoring Officer on an ad hoc basis comprising at least 3 councillors chosen by the Chairman of Employment and Staffing Committee (or Vice-Chairman in his/her absence) from a pool of all members and substitutes of the Employment and Staffing Committee and at least one cabinet member (normally including the lead cabinet member with responsibility for staffing).

 

So far as reasonably practicable, the composition of the Panel will comply with the principles of proportionality and Council policy and good practice on equalities.

To deal with disciplinary matters relating to the Head of Paid Service, Section 151 Officer, Chief Finance Officer and Directors in accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules. 

Specifically:

(a)  To investigate whether there are sufficient grounds for taking disciplinary action.

 

(b)  To hold a hearing to consider and make findings as to allegations against the employee.

 

(c)   To report the outcome of any investigation and hearing to the Employment and Staffing Committee

 

 

 

 

 

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Independent Panel

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

At least two independent persons appointed by the Council under Section 28(7) of the  Localism Act 2011 or, where there are fewer than two such persons, such independent persons as have been appointed by another authority or authorities as the Council considers appropriate.

 

To consider any proposal by the Employment and Staffing Committee to dismiss the Head of Paid Service, Monitoring Officer or Chief Finance Officer.

 

To offer advice, views or recommendations to the Council on matters relating to the dismissal of the Head of Paid Service, Monitoring Officer or Chief Finance Officer as applicable.

 

 

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Employee Appeals Panel

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

Panel appointed by the Monitoring Officer on an ad hoc basis comprising at least 3 councillors chosen by the Chairman of Employment and Staffing Committee (or Vice-Chairman in his/her absence) from a pool of all members and substitutes of the Employment and Staffing Committee and including at least one member of the Cabinet.

 

So far as circumstances allow, the composition of the panel will comply with the principles of proportionality and Council policy and good practice on equalities.

 

To consider and determine appeals by employees where the Council’s disciplinary and grievance appeals procedures provide for a right of appeal to members.

 

 

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Licensing Committee

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

14 councillors, which may include the lead cabinet member  with responsibility for Licensing, who have received suitable training as required by Article 8.03, appointments to be subject to the requirements of political proportionality.

 

All licensing applications not determined by the Licensing Officer under delegated powers, under any provisions which are the statutory function of the Council, not otherwise the functions of the Planning Committee.

The Licensing Officer has general delegated powers subject to the Scheme of Delegation.

 

All appeals from the determination of the Licensing Officer where in-house procedures allow appeals.

All private hire driver licence applications following a referral by the Licensing Officer or authorised officer.

Determination of Consent, Licence and Prohibited Streets and all other functions set out in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1982

 

The Licensing Appeals Sub-Committee, comprising at least 3, but not more than 5, councillors from the Licensing Committee who have undertaken the necessary training. The Democratic Services Officer, after consultation with the Chairman of the Licensing Committee, or in his/her absence the Vice-Chairman, shall:

  • select members to sit on the Sub-Committee when it is required to meet.
  • select the Chairman of the Sub-Committee when it is required to meet.

A Licensing Review Panel, comprising not more than 5 councillors from the Licensing Committee, who have undertaken the necessary training.  The Democratic Services Officer, after consultation with the Chairman of the Licensing Committee, or in his/her absence, the Vice-Chairman is authorised to make appointments to the Panel when it is required to meet.

The Licensing Officer after consulting the Chairman of the committee and the local member(s)

 

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Licensing Committee (2003 Act)

Membership

Functions

Delegation of functions

10-15 councillors, who have received suitable training as required by Article 8.03, who shall be the same as the membership of the Licensing Committee

All licensing applications under the Licensing Act 2003 not determined by the Licensing Officer under delegated powers.

All licensing applications under the Gambling Act 2005 not determined by the Licensing Officer under delegated powers.

As set out in Annex 1 below (Delegation of Functions)

As set out in Annex 2 below (Delegation of Functions)

 

 

 

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