Agenda item

Constitutional Amendments

To consider the above report


Members considered a number of proposed amendments to the Constitution.


Councillor Targowska highlighted the six key changes:


·         Expansion of the powers of the Cabinet Regeneration Sub Committee (CRSC) so that it could take timely and efficient decisions on behalf of the Cabinet.

·         Revision of financial thresholds Council must approve for consistency, so that the figure for revenue matched that for capital (£500,000).

·         Amendments to the terms of reference of the Investment Working Group to formalise arrangements relating to day to day fund management.

·         Deletion of the Admissions Forum, which was no longer a statutory requirement.

·         Additional levels of sign off if the council agreed a contract involving was Members or a close member of their family. This was a very rare occurrence but would improve transparency.

·         Changes as a result of the joint arrangements for Adopt Berkshire


Councillor Werner stated that he was shocked to think that the council would have contracts with Members. Although he welcomed that change, he felt it should go further and no contracts be allowed. He agreed the change should be made but the issue should be referred to the Constitution Sub Committee to see if it could be strengthened. He also requested that a list of contracts with councillors over the last 12 years be passed to him or published. He referred to the discussion at the last meeting about adding reference to bullying in the code of conduct and asked why this was not included in the report.


Councillor Dudley commented that individuals should not be put off becoming a councillor if they would have to shut down their business interests. The change was proposed to ensure extra checks and balances and absolute transparency.


Councillor Beer asked whether the change to the CRSC had been considered by the Constitution Sub Committee or not. A very small group of people would be taking on decisions about large land disposals. He did not feel this was right for a Sub Committee and should remain with the Cabinet which met regularly anyway. Councillor Dudley highlighted that the CRSC consisted of a large number of the Cabinet members. He expected the Sub Committee to be making many decisions over the coming years and this would make the main Cabinet agenda more manageable. It was noted that all CRSC decisions were open to the call-in process.


Councillor Dudley stated that he would be happy for a list of contracts over the last 20 years with councillors to be put together, provided to Councillor Werner and published on the website.


Councillor Targowska commented that she was confident the changes in relation to contracts were in the best interests of residents. She had approved changes to the Code of Conduct in relation to bullying in the previous week and these would be included with the updated Constitution. The issues had not been discussed at Constitution Sub Committee as they were of such significance that they needed to come to Full Council.


It was proposed by Councillor Targowska, seconded by Councillor Bicknell , and:


RESOLVED: That Full Council:


i.              Notes the amendment to the Cabinet Regeneration Sub Committee Terms of Reference set out in paragraph 2.4

ii.            Considers and approves the amendments to the Constitution set out in paragraphs 2.5 to 2.9 and Appendix 1


(42 Councillors voted in favour of the motion – Councillors Michael Airey, Natasha Airey, Malcolm Alexander, Christine Bateson, Hashim Bhatti, Phillip Bicknell, Paul Brimacombe, David Burbage, Stuart Carroll, Gerry Clark, John Collins, David Coppinger, Carwyn Cox, Judith Diment, Simon Dudley, Dr Lilly Evans, Marius Gilmore, Geoff Hill, David Hilton, Charles Hollingsworth, Maureen Hunt, Mohammed Ilyas, Richard Kellaway, Philip Love, Sayonara Luxton, Asghar Majeed, Ross McWilliams, Marion Mills, Nicola Pryer, Eileen Quick, Jack Rankin, Samantha Rayner, Julian Sharpe, Derek Sharp, Julian Sharpe, Shamsul Shelim, Adam Smith, John Story, Claire Stretton, Lisa Targowska, Derek Wilson, Edward Wilson and Lynda Yong. 1 Councillor voted against the motion – Malcolm Beer; 1 Councillor abstained – Simon Werner).

Supporting documents: