The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Yeates, will present the Minutes from the meeting of the Constitution Working Party held on 30 November 2020. There are a range of recommendations at:
o Minute 30 [Committee Responsibility for Land Property and Asset Management] – the Officer’s report and Appendix is attached
o Minute 31 [Consolidated Report on Outstanding Planning Issues] – the Officer’s report and Appendix is attached
o Minute 32 [Referral of Motion 4 From Full Council on 18 November 2020 to this Working Party on Call-In] – the Officer’s report is attached.
The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Yeates, presented the minutes from the Constitution Working Party held on 30 November 2020.
Councillor Mrs Yeates confirmed that the first set of recommendations were at Minute 29 [Committee responsibility for Land Property and Asset Management} which she formally proposed. The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor Mrs Gregory.
RESOLVED – That
(1) It be noted that the Residential and Wellbeing Service Committee is delegated all functions (acquisition, disposal, declaring as surplus to requirements, repair and maintenance) relating to HRA land assets and property both residential and commercial (this includes the small number of residential properties held for accounting purposes in the General Fund but let and managed by Residential Services);
(2) The Economic Committee be delegated responsibility for all functions (acquisition, disposal, declare as surplus to requirements, repair and maintenance_ functions relating to the General Fund land assets and property both residential and commercial; responsibility for the General Fund Property Investment Strategy and the Development of a Commercial Strategy;
(3) The threshold value for delegation to Officers remain as they are but Corporate Policy and Performance Committee be delegated responsibility for reviewing the thresholds in consultation with the Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer; and
(4) The Monitoring Officer make consequential changes to the wording of the Committee’s terms of reference to reflect the outcome of the above recommendations.
Councillor Mrs Yeates then drew Members’ attention to the next set of recommendations at Minute 30 [Consolidated Report on Outstanding Planning Issues] which she formally proposed. The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor Mrs Gregory.
Debate firstly focused on proposals to rename the Development Control Committee the Planning Committee and what the future size of the Committee should be. There were many Councillors who could not support the suggested name of the size which would see the Committee having a reduced membership size of 11 Councillors. It was felt to name the Committee the Planning Committee would cause confusion as the Council would have a Service Committee called the Planning Policy Committee.
On membership size, as a quasi-judicial Committee it was essential to ensure that representation on the Committee was from all parts of the District which could not be achieved with a reduced membership and would disenfranchise parts of the District. Requests were made to keep the membership unchanged at 15.
In terms of the other recommendations proposed, Recommendations (2), (3) and (4) these were supported though it was felt that the Committee should be involved in ensuring that its rules and responsibilities be debated by the Committee, this had always been the case in the past. Finally, it was felt that there was an urgent need for further training to be organised which had not taken place since the start of the pandemic.
Following further debate, the Council
RESOLVED – That
(1) The Development Control Committee be renamed the Planning Committee;
(2) The Planning Local Code and the Public Speaking Rules be consolidated as one document renamed ‘Planning Local Protocol’ as set out in Appendix 1 of the report and referred to the Standards Committee for consideration at the same time as the proposed new Model Member Code of Conduct, with the amendment being made at Paragraph 11.8 being taken forward;
(3) The proposed Terms of Reference of the Planning Committee be approved and that accordingly Council agrees to amend Part 3, Responsibility for Functions, Paragraph 5.2 (Development Control Committee) of the Constitution as set out in Appendix 2;
(4) Having regard to the Financial Procedure Rules to agree to amend Part 3, Paragraph 11 and 16 (Responsibility for Functions) the terms of reference of the Planning Policy Committee as set out in Appendix 3; and
(5) The size of the Planning Committee be a membership of 11 Councillors.
The Vice-Chairman then took over as Chairman for the next item to be considered and Councillor Mrs Yeates then formally proposed the final recommendation at Minute 31 [Referral of Motion 4 from Full Council on 18 November 2020 to this Working Party on Call-In] which formally proposed. The recommendation was then seconded by Councillor Mrs Gregory.
That the following amendment is made to Part 6, Section 2, of the Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13.4 to allow a broader range of Members to initiate call-in requests:
13.4. If a request for a call-in is received by the Group Head of Policy within the period between the publication of the decision and the effective date, he/she shall call-in the decision for scrutiny by the Committee. For it to be valid, the request must be:
a) in writing and identify the lead Member of the call-in,
b) specify the relevant decision, which is to be the subject of the call-in,
c) satisfy at least one of the criteria set out in paragraph 13.8, and
d) be supported by any five Members of the Council who do not have related pecuniary interests with regards to the subject of the Call-in
e) the Group submitting the Call-In request comprises EITHER Members from more than one Political Group as defined by Section 8 of the Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990 OR individual members from one or more Groups as defined, along with individual members who are not part of any Group.