Council gave consideration to a report which presented the 21/22 Annual Review of the Constitution and arising recommendations, as considered by the Governance and Audit Committee on 12 April and recommended for approval.
The report also included an Annual Report from the Monitoring Officer for the period 21/22. The report aimed to provide an holistic view of all governance associated matters.
The Governance and Audit Committee Chairman in presenting the report advised Members Article 14 of the Constitution stipulated how such a review should be conducted, detailed at Section 1.2
Comprehensive Reviews had been undertaken in 2011, 14, 17 and large sections of the document had also been amended in 2018, as such a number of relatively minor amendments, as detailed in Section 3 of the report were being proposed. Reviewing the Public Participation at Planning Committee Scheme, Virtual first meetings, and Review of Working Groups had also resulted in some proposed amendments, also contained in Section 3 of the report. All changes included a rationale for doing so. The comparative appendices, informing some of the work and recommendations, were highlighted to Members.
As part of the last Annual Review considered by Council in June 2021, Members had agreed a list of associated work to be undertaken during 21/22 civic year summarised at Section 1.5 . Section 2 of the report provided a brief update on progress achieved against each work stream over the period and the arising outcomes.
Whilst undertaking the annual review of the Constitution a number of other associated actions for further work, development or “a watching brief” had been identified, detailed at Section 7 of the report. Members noted that progress and any arising recommendations from this work would form part of the 22/23 review reportable to Governance and Audit Committee by no later than April 2023.
No changes had been made to the Financial Regulations or Contract Procedure Rules within the year. As these remained unchanged they had not been included in the report to Council. The S151 Officer had advised that housekeeping amendments (job titles) would be required as the new management structure was implemented but that these could be dealt with under already approved delegation.
The remaining sections of the report 8 -13 made up the Monitoring Officer’s Annual Report which aimed to provide an holistic overview of all governance associated matters and included information on such matters as, data analysis of the number, nature and outcome of complaints received under the Code of Conduct and details of the support the Monitoring Officer had provided to a number of Parish Councils to ensure their continued functioning.
Section 10 of the report sought Council approval to a number of lay vacancies.
The Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee drew Members’ attention to the decision made by Mr Peter Walton, after over 70 years involvement with Local Government, to not seek re-appoint to the Governance and Audit Committee. He considered Mr Walton’s services to Local Government were something to be in awe of, as such he moved a vote of thanks, asked Members to join him in a round of applause and sought Council agreement to a letter of thanks for Mr Walton’s services being sent to him from the Council.
Several Members echoed the comments of the Chairman of Governance Audit Committee commenting on Mr Walton’s legend like presence in Local Government in Lincolnshire. The Chamber were more than content that a letter of thanks be issued.
Having been proposed and seconded on being put to the vote
RESOLVED that the recommendation from the Governance and Audit Committee be accepted and as such: -
(a) the outcome of the annual review detailed within the report be noted;
(b) the amendments detailed throughout Section 3 of the report, identified during the 21/22 review be approved, adopted and implemented with immediate effect;
(c) the appointments of Mr Richard Quirk, Pat Kennedy and Trevor Hall to the Council’s Remuneration Panel for a period of 4 years, commencing from Annual Council 2022, ceasing at Annual Council in May 2026, and the appointment of Mr Stephen Beard, as the Standards Independent Person, for a period of 4 years commencing from Annual Council 2022 ceasing at Annual Council in May 2026 (Section 10)be approved;
(d) the progress made with regards to the areas of work agreed for further development in the previous review (Section 2); the areas considered but not taken forward (Section 6); the further planned work for 2022/23 (Section 7); the statistical data provided within the report in respect of the number, nature and outcome of Code of Conduct Complaints (Section 9); the support offered to Parish Councils (Section 11); and the use of the Council’s RIPA powers during the period (section 13) be received and noted; and
(e) the Monitoring Officer be permitted to use current delegated powers, engaging the Chief Executive, and in consultation with Chairman of the Governance and Audit, to re-align the scheme of Officer delegation, on implementation of a new senior management structure (Section 4)
Note: Councillor David Cotton declared a personal interest, and indicated he would not vote on the above, as he had known a number of those referred to in the lay members section of the report on a personal level for a significant number of years.